The sale and use of marijuana are now legal in some parts of the world. In other parts, the medical use of marijuana is not just legal but also encouraged. However, tech giant Google is not taking any chances. The company recently added a rule to ban apps that help the sale of marijuana. They are doing this whether the company is operating legally or not.
Nevertheless, Google says that it is not totally driving marijuana-related services away from the Play Store. This might still spell doom for popular US weed-finding apps like Weedmaps. The company says they are working with developers to make the apps more compliant with new rules instead of banning them altogether.
Weed-selling Android apps are able to promote marijuana. However, they are not allowed to assist with “arranging the delivery or pick up of marijuana, facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality” or offer “in-app shopping cart feature.”
According to a Google spokesperson,
“These apps simply need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be compliant with this new policy. We’ve been in contact with many of the developers and are working with them to answer any technical questions and help them implement the changes without customer disruption.”
No marijuana on this app
Apple, on the other hand, had already placed bans on such apps from the app store. However, they have since relaxed the restrictions and allowed some marijuana apps like Eaze to operate but without in-app ordering. Although, apps that facilitate the sale of tobacco, marijuana and controlled substances have been banned. They also banned apps encouraging the consumption of illegal drugs, excess amounts of alcohol and tobacco products.
Google seems to be on a path to a more General-rated Play Store that children will be able to access. Also, there are speculations that the new restrictions may be because of payments processing issues as marijuana is still illegal on a federal level in the United States. However, a lot of states in the country have made it legal.
According to a statement by marijuana selling app Ease,
“Google’s decision is a disappointing development that only helps the illegal market thrive. But we are confident that Google, Apple, and Facebook will eventually do the right thing and allow legal cannabis companies to do business on their platforms. We regret any inconvenience this may cause for customers and patients.”