Previously, Apple’s anti-drug ethos has meant that “Apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes, will be rejected.” Even when apps like the controversial cannabis-growing game Weed Firm do somehow slip through the cracks and make it to the top of the free iPhone games chart, Apple has booted them out as soon as it’s made aware of their existence.
But as marijuana laws change, so too does Apple.
In an apparent change of heart, Apple has rethought its policies regarding social marijuana app MassRoots, which it previously banned. MassRoots’ developers have now taken to the blogosphere to thank Apple for agreeing to reinstate the app — so long as it’s restricted only to those 23 states where medical or recreational marijuana use is permitted.
Part of the reason for MassRoots’ reinstatement may be their civility in dealing with the whole issue. Unlike some developers turfed out of the App Store, who immediately take to bashing Tim Cook and pals, in this case the devs voiced a well-thought out critique of Apple’s policies, talking about one of the concepts Apple holds most dear: innovation.
“[T]he current App Store rules … [limit] consumer choice to dispensary locators and strain guides, preventing the innovation that the App Store has spawned for countless other industries. In the cannabis sector, these innovations will allow patients to more effectively communicate, to have their medicine delivered directly to their homes, and will allow the industry to operate in a safer and more efficient manner.
The App Store’s program license agreement makes it clear that Apple bears no legal responsibility for the apps distributed through its platform. Apps such as Uber and Lyft are illegal in many localities in which they are available – however, like cannabis-related applications, there is strong demand for these services among Apple customers.
We are not asking for Apple to endorse cannabis-related applications or their content; we are simply requesting that Apple’s customers have the right to download marijuana Apps if they so choose.”
While there’s no chance that writing an eloquently-worded letter will get Apple to approve any and every app submitted, it’s certainly a refreshing approach that demonstrates a whole lot of professionalism. Having garnered support from tens of thousands of users and advocates, MassRoots is now back in the App Store, and with a shiny new user interface to boot.
“Throughout this campaign, the MassRoots team never stopped using our iPhones, MacBooks, and iPads as a testament to Apple’s world-class products,” the team notes.
“We’d like to thank the App Store for embracing the cannabis community and continuing to set an example as a socially-progressive institution. We are excited to begin a new chapter with Apple in which we can work together to affect meaningful societal change.”