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Licensed Marijuana Businesses Now Allowed on Apple’s App Store

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A change to Apple’s App Store policies, dated June 7, now allows legal marijuana delivery services and licensed marijuana dispensaries to have apps on the platform — reports Marijuana Moment.

There’s still a catch or two, though — any such apps must be geo-restricted to jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, and all such apps must be “submitted by a legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer.”

Here are excerpts from Apple’s updated App Store policies, with the June 7 additions in bold:

“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.”

[…]

“Apps that provide services in highly-regulated fields (such as banking and financial services, healthcare, gambling, legal cannabis use, and air travel) or that require sensitive user information should be submitted by a legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer. Apps that facilitate the legal sale of cannabis must be geo-restricted to the corresponding legal jurisdiction.

On the other hand, Google still maintains its Play Store-wide ban on apps that sell marijuana or connect users with the substance in any way.

Google’s Play Store policy, updated in 2019, states:

“We don’t allow apps that facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality.”

Considering Apple’s stringent policies against apps selling controlled/illegal substances that have landed even unrelated apps with slightly relevant names in their crosshairs, Apple going first in legalizing marijuana-selling apps was certainly a surprise.

In an interview with WeedWeek, Chris Vaughn, CEO of California-based delivery service Emjay, said he believes Google will “follow quickly” and update its own policies in the near future.

The tech industry’s relationship with the legal marijuana industry has been strained to say the least, but with the substance’s gradual legalization and mounting lobbying efforts for widespread legalization, legitimate marijuana businesses need to be able to make a place for themselves in the world’s largest consumer platforms.

With marijuana being legal in the country, Canadians should be able to see, download, and use apps from licensed marijuana dispensaries and delivery services on the App Store.

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