Apple is legalizing marijuana apps

Apple App Store: Guns? No. Weed? Sure

Apple is legalizing marijuana apps, to a degree, after banning a number of them under policies advocates deemed unfair and outdated.

Apple’s notoriously rigid policies governing its App Store came under fire when it began desliting apps related to the consumption of marijuana, though the substance is now legal in several states.

Apps like MassRoots were banned, apparently due to to section 2.18 of the App Store Review Guidelines. The section states the following:

Apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes, will be rejected.

MassRoots is an app and private social network that provides a platform for cannabis users to share their passion for the plant, without falling under the scrutiny of those opposed to the use.

While MassRoots had to lobby Apple to encourage Cupertino to soften its policies on apps dedicated to cannabis, the app developer says it’s ready to move on to a new chapter now that it has been welcomed back by the app store.

See also: Stoned drivers are a lot safer than drunk ones, new federal data show

“Throughout this campaign, the MassRoots team never stopped using our iPhones, MacBooks, and iPads as a testament to Apple’s world-class products,” states MassRoots in a blog post. “We’d like to thank the App Store for embracing the cannabis community and continuing to set an example as a socially-progressive institution.”

To work its way back into the app store, MassRoots implemented a geo-locking mechanic that prevented use of the app outside of the 23 states that have legalized marijuana in some capacity. Now the app developer and its community need to shoulder a huge responsibility, says MassRoots.

Apple - Weed
Apple relaxes its stance on marijuana apps but tightens its control on guns and imagery in apps that allude to violence. The changes appear to be in the way Apple interprets existing policies. (Photo : Sean Gallup | Getty)

“A tremendous amount of responsibility has just been placed on MassRoots; we have a duty to show the world that cannabis consumption can be done in a safe and responsible manner in compliance with state laws and federal enforcement guidelines – we do not take this task lightly,” states MassRoots.

While Apple softened its stance on marijuana apps, the iOS maker is cracking down on guns. Apple isn’t banning guns or violent games but it is prohibiting the listing of any imagery that could encourage violence, according to a come thread between a series of delistings.

While a game or app can have scene in which a protagonist goes crazy with a gun in search of his sister or her brother, the software’s app art can’t allude to those Rambo-like scenes. That means no bloody knives, smoking guns or even throwing stars knocking some nameless baddie off his or her feet.