The Roadblocks Just Got Higher Google Bans Cannabis Sales in Play Store

In May 29th of this year, Google quietly changed its restricted content policies to include cannabis. banning apps that facilitate the sale of cannabis or cannabis products, "regardless of legality." These new policies were first reported by Android Police. As they mentioned, before this change, Google had no policies restricting such activities. In their new guidelines, Google lays out the following "examples of common violations:"

● Allowing users to order marijuana through an in-app shopping cart feature.

● Assisting users in arranging the delivery or pick up of marijuana.

● Facilitating the sale of products containing THC.

Because this policy shift created substantial uncertainty among canna-businesses and app developers alike, Google released the following statement to media outlets to clarify what this change will mean, suggesting that cannabis apps would be able to adapt and stay on Google Play.

"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."

Despite Google's reassurance, cannabis app developers-like Weedmaps and Eaze-will have to make big changes to remain in compliance, and many are not happy. "Eaze connects adults only to licensed, regulated cannabis retailers." said Eaze's Senior Director of Corporate Communication, Elizabeth Ashford In an email to Marijuana Moment, "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."

Apple previously had even stricter rules for cannabis apps, which led to it removing the popular social app MassRoots from the App Store. In 2015, however, they reversed their decision and reinstated the app. They've since taken a softer approach, but their current content policy still states that they may reject an app for "facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances."

This change comes on the same day 

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