Tech giant Apple updated its policy within the App Store and will no longer ban cannabis retailers from appearing on the platform along with some constraints. The policy, which was updated in June, enables licensed pharmacies and licensed dispensaries, provided they are legal (in their state) and geo-gated, to use the App Store to facilitate cannabis purchases. Cannabis-based businesses were banned previously with the policy stating “facilitating the sale of controlled substances(except for licensed pharmacies), marijuana, or tobacco is not allowed.” However, with the new policy in place, this opens up a plethora of possibilities for cannabis retailers and marijuana packaging.
The CEO of California delivery service Emjay Chris Vaughan said delivery is “probably the best opportunity in cannabis.” Vaughan explained how the company has been working towards launching its Apple iOS app for some time. He also believes that with Apple’s pro-cannabis policy changes, it won’t be long before Google decides to “follow quickly” with its Google Play store. Unfortunately, Google has continued to ban cannabis businesses on its platform while also upping its restrictions on acceptable apps in 2019.
Apple’s main competitor’s policy places a ban on any illegal activity stating. It labels “facilitating the sale or purchase of illegal drugs or prescription drugs without a prescription,” “depicting or encouraging the use or sale of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco by minors,” and providing “instructions for growing or manufacturing illegal drugs” as examples of common violations. The Play Store has an Unapproved Substances policy in place, with a list of banned substances that include cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound found in the marijuana plant. Although more steps are being taken for legalization statewide, the DEA still has cannabis categorized as a Schedule I drug and it remains federally illicit.