Approval Process for Marijuana Apps Often Hazy

The smoke has yet to clear for many pot-themed apps in the Google and Apple app stores. Find out why.

Apps don’t make it into the Google or Apple app stores without those companies’ approval. For marijuana-related apps, the approval process is hazier.

Approval delays and rejections stem from conflicting state and federal laws, and a lack of guidelines for cannabis apps, Yahoo Finance reports.

Some apps have been approved only to be kicked out of app stores later. Some are later re-approved.

The app for MassRoots, a social media network for pot smokers, was booted from Apple’s App Store after 14 months, Yahoo reports.

The MassRoots app was readmitted in February after Apple “changed its enforcement guidelines to permit cannabis social apps in the 23 states that have legalized medicinal cannabis,” a MassRoots blog post stated at the time.

The blog post continued:

A tremendous amount of responsibility has just been placed on MassRoots; we have a duty to show the world that cannabis consumption can be done in a safe and responsible manner in compliance with state laws and federal enforcement guidelines.

Those laws and guidelines are part of the problem, though.

Apple requires apps to “comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users.”

Google’s app store, called Google Play, has one rule for “illegal activities.” It reads:

Keep it legal. Don’t engage in unlawful activities on this product, such as the sale of prescription drugs without a prescription.

These rules are complicated by the fact that use of recreational and/or medicinal marijuana has been legalized in a number of states, but remains illegal under federal law.

Isaac Dietrich, MassRoots chief executive, tells Yahoo:

“We still don’t have any published rules.”

While MassRoots is now available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play, other apps may obtain approval from one of the companies and struggle to get an OK from the other.

A medical marijuana delivery app called Eaze, which is backed by investors who include rapper Snoop Dogg, is available in Google Play. But Eaze has spent the past year trying unsuccessfully to get into Apple’s App Store.

Jamie Feaster, head of marketing for Eaze, tells Yahoo:

“There seems to be an eagerness to work with companies in this emerging market, but the issue seems to be playing nice by federal regulations.”

Do you feel that app stores should spell out separate rules for marijuana-related apps? Share your thoughts about this or any other marijuana-related issue in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Stacy Johnson

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