Technology

Google Bans Marijuana Delivery Apps From Their Play Store

For food, there’s Seamless, GrubHub, Doordash. For booze, there’s Drizly, Saucey and Drinkfly. And for weed, there’s Eaze, Weedmaps and Budly. All are iOS and Android apps that get users what they want, when they want it, right to their door. But very soon, Android users won’t be able to browse for cannabis products and place an order using Weedmaps or Eaze or any other marijuana delivery app. Going forward, Google is banning marijuana delivery apps from its Google Play store. And it won’t matter whether marijuana is legal where you’re at, either. If an app helps get weed into your hands, Google is going to ban it.

Google Won’t Allow Apps that Facilitate the Sale of Marijuana

Google’s list of the restricted and inappropriate content it won’t allow in its products or on its Google Play app store is long, covering everything from sexual content and hate speech to bullying, harassment and dangerous products. There’s even a section on tobacco and alcohol that restricts any depiction of binge drinking or anything implying smoking makes you coolers or anything that might encourage minors to drink or smoke tobacco.

But on Wednesday, Google added a new section to their inappropriate content list, one titled “Marijuana.”

The new restricted content category says Google Play “won’t allow apps that facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality,” and it goes on to provide a few examples. Allowing users to order weed through an in-app shopping cart would be one instance of violating the new restriction. Helping users arrange the delivery or even a pickup of marijuana would be another. In other words, as Google says, anything “facilitating the sale of products containing THC.”

Patients and Consumers Rely on Marijuana Delivery Apps

That’s bad news for weed apps, and even worse news for the hundreds of thousands of Android users who rely on such apps to help them access the right cannabis products legally.

Medical cannabis is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Cannabis is legal for adults 21 and over in 10 states. Yet the extent of the dispensary and retail industryvaries drastically from state to state. Access to brick-and-mortar weed shops is neither equal nor equitable, and many patients and consumers struggle with access issues. Those challenges will get tougher now that Google is banning any app that helps people purchase cannabis online and have it delivered.

So far, Google hasn’t explained the move. But some suspect it has to do with Google’s efforts to make its Play Store more child-friendly. Apple’s App Store solves the issue with a 17+ age restriction, even though cannabis is still illegal for anyone under 21—but so is alcohol, of course.

Workaround: Android Users Can Still Get Their Favorite Weed App

Fortunately for Android users, the Google Play store isn’t the only game in town, unlike the App Store. If you have an Android phone, you can still install apps like Budly and Weedmaps and Eaze on your phone. You just can’t get them on the Google Play store.

Instead, you’ll need to install the apps on your device as sideloaded APKs. And both Weedmaps and Eaze both distribute their apps in that format, so it’s super easy.

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