You’ve heard of Cannabis apps like Eaze or WeedMaps; one-stop applications that can be used on your smartphone to access all of the data about marijuana dispensaries and products in your area. Moving to California two years ago, WeedMaps particularly made me familiar with the market and what my city has to offer.
But just over a month ago, Google established a rule banning all applications that “facilitate” or assist in the sale or procurement of marijuana. Android Police was the first publication to break the story and how this could signal misfortune for apps in this field. Apparently there are no rules that prevent applications from promoting marijuana use or showing it, but there’s now a rule in place stating developers are prohibited from featuring an “in-app shopping cart” that has any relation to “arranging delivery or pick up of marijuana” or “facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality.”
In a statement made to the publication The Verge, Google downplays the changes and doesn’t see it as a huge compliance issue. According to Google’s statement, “These apps [WeedMaps, Eaze, etc.] 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.”
This isn’t much different from Apple’s policy, which also prevents facilitating the sale of marijuana. Weedmaps and Eaze don’t feature in-app ordering on that platform either as a result. In the sticky web of state and federal politics in the United States, weed is federally legal everywhere, even if a state allows it fully recreationally, so some are speculating this rule keeps Google safe from having to deal with the conflicting laws. Eaze also issued a statement to The Verge expressing their displeasure with the policy change. What do you think of this new Google app store policy? Is where you live affected at all by this?