These days every business, even a marijuana business, has a hard time succeeding without being properly hooked up on the web. If your site doesn’t come up in a google search, no one sees it. And if your app can’t be accessed through Apple’s App Store, then you’ve got problems. Unfortunately, Apple CEO Tim Cook is allowing for an anti-marijuana app policy in his $10 billion a year marketplace.
Denver based start up MassRoots, an instagram like social media site which connects marijuana users, had its app in the Apple Store for 14 months before it was pulled. Ironically, the app was taken down by Apple the very day that voters opted to legalize marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.
When MassRoots CEO, Isaac Dietrich, called up Apple to find out why their app was pulled, the Apple representative he spoke with simply told him that his app was not the type of content Apple wants in their App store. Apple was frustratingly vague when explaining to the slew of marijuana app programmers why their apps were rejected. The long and short of it seems to be that Apple is worried about legal repercussions. Remember that cannabis is still classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 drug. Even in the wake of recreational legalization in some states, America as a whole has not embraced weed culture with open arms. Even states that offer medical marijuana often make it difficult to obtain it.
Pot businesses are making known their drama with Apple, and they are hoping that Apple will get enough negative attention to back down. MassRoots got over 10,000 signatures in their petition to Apple. Countless other weed apps are expressing their disappointment in Apple’s policy. New York’s HempDex, a LinkedIn style marijuana network, had already invested thousands of dollars into their iOS app development before they became aware of Apple’s policy. NestDrop, a company that delivers medical marijuana (among other legal intoxicants) right to your door, was taken out of the appstore after just a few months. NestDrop’s co- founder, Michael Pycher complained that Apple really doesn’t have a sense of what consumers want right now. He said “It’s been beyond frustrating dealing with Apple, they don’t seem to have a pulse on what a lot of consumers want. And they’re not privy to listen.”
Google’s Playstore has been far more progressive than Apple, with weed related apps getting cleared in a matter of hours. Developers have met no resistance in getting their apps on Android devices. Maybe Apple will cease to be the chic device in marijuana using circles?
by Suzanna Mountain