Navigating California’s confusing patchwork of marijuana laws just got easier.
If you own an Amazon Echo product, you can now ask Alexa – the brain behind Amazon’s smart-speaker platform – to tell you the rules for any city or county in California.
State law gives local governments full authority to regulate or ban most marijuana activity within their borders. So reporters from this news organization spent months collecting policy information from all 482 cities and 58 counties in California. We then gave each city and county a score that represents how lenient (higher score) or strict (lower score) that jurisdiction is when it comes to personal cultivation and marijuana business.
All of that information is in a searchable database. And, as of June 19, that database is accessible simply by talking to your Amazon Echo device.
If you’re unfamiliar with these Amazon products, the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot and Echo Show are wifi-connected devices for your home that you interact with using voice commands. Basically, you talk to Alexa, and Alexa answers you. Alexa can search the web, make to-do lists that are accessible on your smartphone, play music, tell jokes, set a timer and order products from Amazon.
With our new California Marijuana Laws skill enabled, you can ask Alexa about any city in California and the device will tell you that city’s score followed by its rules relating to home growing, recreational sales and medical sales.
To get started, go to the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone (available for Android and iOS). Search the skill “California Marijuana Laws” and click on “enable.” Or use this link: California Marijuana Laws database
Once you’ve done that, accessing the information is as simple as saying “Alexa, open California Marijuana Laws” and responding to her prompts. You can also jump straight to information about a specific city by saying, for example, “Alexa, ask California Marijuana Laws about Santa Ana.”
Alexa is also available on certain Amazon Fire tablets and Fire TV products.
If you have an Echo product and give our new California Marijuana Laws skill a spin, consider leaving a review in the Amazon.com store so others can find our work. You can also email us feedback directly at email@example.com.
Assistant Manager Editor Daniel Tedford contributed to this report.