OH GOOGLE: Man, you used to be cool.
In a country where, despite the promises of the UK Government, marijuana is still illegal, even for medical use, the idea that Google is banning weed-sales apps from the Play Store might seem a bit of a redundant statement.
But with many states of the US, Canada, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Portugal amongst a growing number of countries that have either legalised or decriminalised recreational use of the drug, mobile phones have become a great way of finding dispensaries and researching strains.
But Google, seemingly aware that this makes such apps as illegal as they are legal, depending on where they are used has stepped in and added a new rule to the Play Store T&Cs banning apps that ‘facilitate' the sale of that sweet-sweet Mary-Jane. To whit:
"We don't allow apps that facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality."
Luckily Google ain't no nark, copper - it is working with the developers of apps like Leafly and Weedmaps to ensure they're compliant, rather than just banning them. In a statement, the company said:
"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."
In other words, as long as you're not buying it in-app, you're golden. This is still a more chill approach that Apple, however, Apple hasn't actually done much to stop it recently either.
It's not known yet if any of the apps plan to make .apk files available to by-pass the rules as Amazon did a few years ago, but even if they do, that's something you do at your own risk - it's best to stay on The Store if you can. μ
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