Facebook, now Google bans marijuana sales in Play Store, vague future of pot in tech

Published Jun 24, 2019 09:03 a.m. ET
iStock / Dmitry Tishchenko

The android police are on top of marijuana news. Facebook and now Google have prohibited ads that sell or facilitate the selling of cannabis; this applies even to advertising in states where marijuana is legal. Any of the apps that are presently meeting that scenario, have been given 30 days in which to comply with Google’s updated policies, or risk being removed from the platform. This was a complex subject and involved the fact of marijuana not being Federally legal.

Part of the newly revised policy includes:

• the removal of features that offend
• the ability to order weed from a marijuana dispensary through the app
• assisting in the deliver or the pick-up of the product containing THC, that would include edibles.

It is expected that two prominent apps, Weedmaps and Eaze, will be making changes to the services they provide to the cannabis industry, or they could be facing a ban.

Eaze which is often referred to as the “Uber of Weed,” due to its business of arranging deliveries between a legal marijuana dispensary and its customers, has voiced the companies’ opinion that this decision by Google, only promotes the sales of black-market cannabis to continue to thrive. Eaze, who is backed by Snoop Dogg, is hopeful that this decision will be reversed and that the legal cannabis companies will not be penalized by not being allowed to use the Google platform.

It is useful to note that Google has the same policies in place around the issue of facilitating the sales of tobacco on the platform.

Google would like to present the Play Store app in a more kid-friendly image and has been under-fire for allowing their platform to encourage using violent content games, that are targeted to meet the children market.

The majority of the customers that use Eaze for delivery, appear not to be frazzled, stating that most of the sales are provided through its website not from the use of apps.

A supplier for Eaze, is quick to say that Google does not allow the Eaze app on their platform. Doug Cortina suggests that until there is a change in the Federal laws surrounding cannabis there will not be a change in the policies of either platforms, Google or Facebook.

It is expected that these types of apps will still be present with a slight change and compliance of the policies a Google spokesperson states. All that will be required is a change in the shopping cart to move the flow outside of the actual app itself. The app will not be allowed to offer an in-app shopping feature that will assist with the pick-up or delivery of marijuana or products, regardless of the legality of marijuana where they are living.

The Federal government could, in the eyes of Cortana help with this situation by aiding companies like Eaze and Weedmapsto be protected from big tech companies that will not deal with them. The solution in his eyes starts with immunizing sellers and distributers from federal prosecutions when engaging in legal transactions.

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