Google has just changed its content policies in order to ban all apps whose purpose is to sell or facilitate marijuana use. However, in the United States, this issue has a somewhat gray moral area.
Google’s new parameters prohibit apps that:
- Allow users to buy marijuana through a ‘shopping cart’ within the app
- Help users schedule deliveries or withdrawals of marijuana orders
- Facilitate the sale of products containing THC
In some states like Los Angeles and California, buying marijuana is legal in physical stores with proper medical authorization. However Google’s rules say that “we do not allow apps that make it easy to sell marijuana, regardless of its legality.”
So with these new rules Google will probably remove the two most popular marijuana-related apps: Weedmaps and Eaze.
Both applications allow the user to find stores that sell marijuana, to classify them and not only. Users can also buy directly through the app or pay and raise later in store.
Being clear violations of the rules mentioned by Google, these apps will certainly disappear from the Play Store, although they are still active at the time of this article.
Google wants a safer Play Store for kids
Even today, Google has set new standards for developers who want to develop apps for children. This effort and banning marijuana apps are attempts to create a more child-friendly store and a better environment for young users.
While consumption is legal in some US states, it is unacceptable for a child to have access to marijuana applications that allow the purchase and discovery of store locations that sell THC products.
That’s why Google could have learned from Apple in this case. The App Store contains the same two applications but with restrictions for people over 17 years. Although not the perfect solution, it is certainly the most logical one, since app stores are supposedly neutral in these matters.