Google is weeding out Play Store apps selling marijuana

Google has updated its Play Store policy prevent apps attempting to “facilitate” the sale of marijuana.

Following reports that Google would seek to ban the apps completely, the company says developers must remove the purchasing capabilities from their apps, regardless of whether the herb is legal to use in the state in question.

Those apps are still allowed to promote weed, but any feature that involves “arranging delivery or pick up of marijuana” or aims to “facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality,” aren’t going to be tolerated.

Following an Android Police report suggesting those apps will be smoked out of the Play Store completely, Google told The Verge it’s still relatively chilled out about apps promoting dope, providing they’re not trying to flog it.

“The apps in question simply need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be compliant with this new policy,” said a Google spokesperson. “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.”

Here’s how Google describes the new policy on its Play Store ‘restricted content’ pages:

We don’t allow apps that facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality.

Here are some examples of common violations:

  • Allowing users to order marijuana through an in-app shopping cart feature.
  • Assisting users in arranging delivery or pick up of marijuana.
  • Facilitating the sale of products containing THC.

It’s important to point out the company isn’t discriminating against weed, which has been legalised for medical and even recreational use in a number of U.S. states. The company has the same policy for apps that seek to sell alcohol and tobacco.

The new rules are designed to foster a “positive, safe environment for children and families” on the Play Store. Although it is legal for adults to buy the drug in some states like California and Colorado, minors are not allowed to. Apple also has banned the sale of marijuana through its App Store.

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