You can buy weed through apps on Apple’s App Store now — with some restrictions.
Apple, which formerly banned apps that facilitated marijuana sales, now allows weed delivery service apps on its platform. The previous policy forbade apps that “encourage the consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol,” as well as those that facilitate the sale of “controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies), marijuana, or tobacco.”
The new App Store policy, which was updated on June 7, makes an exemption for licensed pharmacies and “licensed or otherwise legal cannabis dispensaries.”
A month later, Apple approved the first cannabis delivery app on the App Store. Eaze, a delivery service with 2 million registered customers in California, launched its shoppable delivery app on July 8. Eaze facilitates cannabis product sales between users and retailers, which independently hire staff to deliver the weed and verify the buyer’s identity. A statement from Eaze described the app’s launch as a “major milestone for the legal cannabis market and consumers.” Before Apple lifted the ban on cannabis apps, customers had to complete all transactions through Eaze’s website.
“It’s hard to overstate how important this is to our company and the industry,” Eaze CEO Rogelio Choy said in a statement. “It’s deeply gratifying to launch the Apple Store’s first fully-functional cannabis delivery app.”
Since then, other cannabis delivery services joined the App Store, including Beta, Caliva, and Pineapple Express. Weedmaps, which allowed users to locate and browse local dispensary menus, updated its app on Wednesday to allow customers to purchase products directly from dispensaries through the platform.
Weedmaps already had an Apple-approved app before the updated policy, because it didn’t directly facilitate the sale of cannabis products. Before the update, it only allowed customers to peruse local dispensary options. To actually buy anything, customers had to use off-app services or visit those dispensaries in person.
“It’s encouraging to see policies and attitudes toward cannabis shift in a way that promises remarkable growth.”
“We commend companies like Apple that work with industry leaders to find solutions that drive innovation in our space,” WM Technology, Inc. chief technology officer Justin Dean said in a statement. “It’s encouraging to see policies and attitudes toward cannabis shift in a way that promises remarkable growth, and we look forward to introducing an even simpler way to order cannabis from retailers through our platform.”
There are still restrictions for cannabis apps, however. The App Store’s review guidelines state that apps providing services in “highly regulated fields” like banking, healthcare, or cannabis, or ones that require sensitive user information, must be through a “legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer.” Additionally, any app that facilitates legal cannabis sales are “geo-restricted to the corresponding legal jurisdiction.” Basically, residents of states where cannabis isn’t recreationally legal, Eaze and other cannabis apps won’t be available for download. If you’re located in Idaho, for example, you won’t have luck downloading any of these apps to order weed from neighboring Oregon.
While Apple’s lifted ban is long overdue progress in shifting the public attitude toward cannabis, Google’s ban on apps that facilitate weed sales remains. As of 2019, Google Play store apps aren’t allowed to offer any “in-app shopping cart feature,” the Verge reported, that would facilitate “arranging delivery or pick up of marijuana.” Regardless of legality, the policy continues, Android apps are forbidden from facilitating the sale of any marijuana or marijuana products.
Marijuana Moment noted in 2019 that the Google Play’s policy previously didn’t mention cannabis at all. The policy change followed an FTC complaint that alleged Google Play wasn’t proactive in vetting apps in the store’s kid section. The apps that previously facilitated cannabis product sales weren’t booted from the Google Play store entirely, but a Google spokesperson told Marijuana Moment that those apps “simply need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be complaint with this new policy.”
iPhone users in legal states, meanwhile, can order weed without ever leaving their couch.