Apple’s notoriously arbitrary, and arbitrarily enforced, App Store policy – which has blocked, among other things, gun imagery and cannabusiness apps – has lightened up a bit, at least as far as legally-operating marijuana apps are concerned.
After MassRoots, an Instagram-styled pot-centric social media network, was kicked out of the App Store last November (ironically on Election Day, as some states prepared to vote on marijuana legislation), the company wrote a letter to Apple and started an online petition that circulated like so much wildfire.
This month Apple relented their draconian pot policy, lifting the ban on cannabis apps but with the caveat that mobile marijuana apps would be monitored and restricted based on geofencing – basically, to make sure that the marijuana app is being used in a state in which the marijuana-based services offered by the app are legal according to state law. So, it’s still kind of a cluster, but it’s a start, and certainly a win for MassRoots.
The blocking of yet another social networking platform may seem insignificant, but with a budding “green rush” upon us and venture capitalists trying desperately to rid themselves of excess money on cannabusinesses that are the closest thing to a sure thing to rake in even more, Apple’s mostly self-imposed pot prohibition (iOS is significantly more chill, if you will) is indeed stifling the growth of the auxiliary weed industry – but, much like the plant itself, that industry is nothing if not resilient.
Zachary Marburger knows first-hand the pains of being a progressive cannabis company in a country still getting over its own internalized pot prejudices. CannaBuild already had two pot programs blocked – one that calculated the THC content in certain edibles, and another called Nuggle, a sort of Tinder for smokers. Mostly recently the company had their latest app, an “OpenTable for pot pickups” called Whaxy, approved by Apple. Marburger, serving as CEO of Whaxy, said to AdWeek, “The ability for us to even be in the App Store, let alone have the features we want and need for our businesses to be successful, is huge.”