Tech giant Google has announced a ban on cannabis transaction apps from its Google Play store on Wednesday “regardless of legality” according to its recently updated policy section. The change was first reported by Android Police.
The new rules prohibit apps that allow users to order cannabis through “an in-app shopping cart feature,” assist “in arranging delivery or pick up” of cannabis products,” or facilitate the sale of THC-containing products.
Its updated policies include bans on apps that facilitate tobacco sales – including e-cigarettes – and those that “encourage the irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco.”
In a statement to Android Police, Google indicated that apps like cannabis delivery app Eaze and Weedmaps – which has an online ordering function in addition to the ability to map dispensaries – would have to remove their ordering function within 30 days in order to remain compliant with the platform.
“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.” – Google, to Android Police
The changes come on the same day Google announced “additional protections for children and families” on its Play service. The changes now require app developers to declare a target audience and while cannabis sales are limited to individuals 21-and-older, the company’s new policies are renewed efforts to prevent children from seeing inappropriate content.
In an email to Marijuana Moment, Elizabeth Ashford, senior director of corporate communications for Eaze called Google’s decision “a disappointing development that only helps the illegal market thrive” but was “confident” that Google – and Apple – “will eventually do the right thing” and allow cannabis transaction apps to continue doing business on their platforms. Apple had banned some cannabis apps, such as MassRoots, until they backtracked on the policy in 2015.
Google is based in California, which legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2016.