Google Is Pulling the Plug on Cannabis Sales in the Android App Store
If your text messages get sent in green bubbles, it just got a lot harder to purchase greenery on your mobile device.
Published on May 30, 2019

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According to a new policy guideline, the Google Play app store will now ban all applications “that facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality.” This effectively cancelled Christmas for Android users who rely on app-based delivery services like Eaze and Weedmaps to obtain their bud. 

The announcement comes on the heels of an FTC investigation filed in December of last year that questioned the lack of age restrictions or content warnings in the Google Play store. In a blog post uploaded Wednesday, Google espoused the Android app store as “a positive, safe environment for children and families.”

But while the new rules may stymie a direct-from-app delivery purchase, a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo that the app store has provided a relatively simple work-around for pot businesses.

“These apps simply need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be compliant with this new policy,” the spokesperson said. “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.”

And while we’re not quite sure what that will mean for popular services like Weedmaps, it will probably include some app toggling between your favorite delivery company and your preferred web browser for check-out. 

In a comment to Marijuana Moment, an Eaze representative said that the company was “disappointed” in Google’s decision, and that making business more difficult for licensed cannabis brands could inadvertently bolster the industry’s lingering black market.

“Eaze connects adults only to licensed, regulated cannabis retailers,” Elizabeth Ashford, senior director of corporate communications for Eaze, told 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. Prohibition is over. Voters across the country have legalized cannabis.”

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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