Google restricts marijuana ‘facilitating’ apps on Play Store

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on May 30 2019
Google restricts marijuana ‘facilitating’ apps on Play Store
HIGHLIGHTS

Google updates its content policy for apps on Google Play.

The operations of the apps which facilitate the sale of marijuana are now restricted.

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Google has updated its content policy for the Play Store and it has now restricted the functioning of all apps that sell or facilitate the sale of marijuana, regardless of legality. According to the new guidelines, "allowing users to order marijuana through an in-app shopping cart feature, assisting users in arranging delivery or pick up of marijuana, and facilitating the sale of products containing THC" are no more allowed on the platform.

Google has apparently pointed out two popular apps, Weedmaps and Eaze, and restricted their functioning. “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,” Android Police quoted Google as saying.

The move is linked to the company’s efforts towards making the Google Play Store safer for children. Google says that it has taken inputs from users and developers and is evolving its Google Play policies to provide additional protections for children and families. “These policy changes build on our existing efforts to ensure that apps for children have appropriate content, show suitable ads, and handle personally identifiable information correctly; they also reduce the chance that apps not intended for children could unintentionally attract them,” Kanika Sachdeva, Product Manager, Google Play, wrote in a blog post.

As part of the new policy, all developers are now required to complete the new target audience and content section of the Google Play Console. For most developers, the target audience does not include children, but if kids are part of an app’s target audience, Google will ask the developers some follow-up questions.

Meanwhile, Eaze has issued a statement claiming that it connects adults only to licensed, regulated cannabis retailers. “In California, and many other markets across the nation, lawmakers have established clear cannabis laws and regulations. Google’s decision is a disappointing development that only helps the illegal market thrive, but we are confident that Google, Apple, and Facebook will eventually do the right thing and allow legal cannabis companies to do business on their platforms. We regret any inconvenience this may cause for customers and patients,” The Verge quoted a company spokesperson as saying.

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