Apple seems to have reversed its strong anti-marijuana stance for the iPhone and iPad App Store and is now letting weed-related apps stay—with a caveat. MJ-positive apps must be geo-restricted so they appear only for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users living in states that have legalized marijuana.
Apple says weed apps are OK in states where marijuana is legal
The catalyst for the change was the MassRoots marijuana discovery app, which Apple pulled from the App Store last November. The company behind the app asked Apple to allow location-based availability, but Apple refused.
That changed this week when Apple contacted the MassRoots developers and told them that limiting the app's availability to states where marijuana is legal would be acceptable. As of Friday morning, MassRoots was back on the App Store ready for download.
The developers said on their website,
Over the past few weeks, cannabis consumers around the world united behind a common message: cannabis apps should be made available in the states that have voted to legalize its medicinal or adult use. Today, we’re excited to announce the App Store has changed its enforcement guidelines to permit cannabis social apps in the 23 states that have legalized medicinal cannabis. MassRoots is now available in the App Store!
Apple has been acting as a sort of moral arbiter with its App Store approval process by blocking apps it deems inappropriate. Those apps have included marijuana-related titles as well as apps that teach women how to masturbate. The company has even gone so far as to block words such as "vagina" from personalized engraving on iPhones and iPads.
Apple has been removing pot-related apps from the App Store for some time, and until now developers had little recourse. With the new policy change, however, it looks like they're back in business—at least in states where marijuana is legal.