Apple has decided to change its mind and is now allowing apps for marijuana delivery services to be listed in the App Store. According to Marijuana Moment
, Apple made the change last month and the tech giant says that apps related to the consumption of marijuana are restricted to areas where cannabis is lega. In addition, they must be submitted to the App Store “by a legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer.”
Apple’s original policy said “Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies), marijuana, or tobacco is not allowed.”
But on June 7th, Apple changed the policy to read, “Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies and licensed or otherwise legal cannabis dispensaries), or tobacco is not allowed.”
Apple and Google take opposite positions when it comes to allowing marijuana related apps in their respective app storefronts
While Apple appears to be more open to the changing policies in the U.S. regarding weed, Google is not. The latter updated its policy in 2019 to prohibit the listing of any app that connects Play Store users with marijuana even if it is legal in the jurisdiction where the user lives. Google says that some examples of violations would be “allowing users to order marijuana through an in-app shopping cart feature” or “assisting users in arranging delivery or pick up of marijuana.”
Google also says that “facilitating the sale of products containing THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), including products such as CBD oils containing THC” is against its policies.
So what changed Apple’s policies toward allowing marijuana services apps in the App Store? According to Chris Vaughn, CEO of the California delivery service Emjay, the recent legalization movements in states like New York along with Amazon’s decision to stop testing workers for the substance led Apple to change its mind. Vaughn believes that Google will choose to join Apple and update its policies in favor of listing Pot delivery apps in the Play Store rather quickly.