All apps that are aimed at facilitating sale of marijuana have been banned by Google by the addition of a rule irrespective of such apps operating legally or illegally. However Google is not attempting to eliminate all pot-related services from its Google Play Store, the company said.
This move by Google would prove to be detrimental for weed-finding apps Eaze and Weedmaps, predicted Android Police, a website that features news, reviews, applications, devices, tips, tutorials, and hacks related to Android platforms, noted while also noting the new measure by Google.
According to a statement by Google published in ‘The Verge’, the company is it is coordinating with app developers to make sure that their apps that are already on Google Play Store are conversant with the new rules instead of attempting to ban those apps that do not conform to the rules altogether.
While still be able to promote marijuana, the Android apps now would not be allowed able to offer an “in-app shopping cart feature” to help customers at “arranging delivery or pick up of marijuana” or to otherwise “facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality.”
The changes were described to be less sweeping by Google in comparison to the strictness of the language used in the new rules, the company said in a statement to The Verge. “These apps simply need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be compliant with this new policy,” said a spokesperson. “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,” Google said.
The App Store of Apple has already banned “facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances” or “encourag[ing] consumption of tobacco products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol” through apps. And in the past, marijuana-related apps were also banned because of this policy. Those rules have however been relaxed somewhat since then. While not being allowed to offer in-app ordering for marijuana, both Weedmaps and Eaze are allowed to operate on iOS.
This new rule by Google is closely related to the overall attempt by Google to make the Play Store more kid-friendly, according to the understanding of Android Police. However the website also notes that this measure could also be related more to finding ways to get around processing payments for pot if the key target is shopping carts. Making payments for marijuana is still an illegal act at the Federal level in the United States. However a growing number of states in the country are legalizing the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.
“In California, and many other markets across the nation, lawmakers have established clear cannabis laws and regulations. Eaze connects adults only to licensed, regulated cannabis retailers,” said a spokesperson from Eaze in a statement.
“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,” the weed company added.
(Adapted from TheVerge.com)