Google has added a rule that prohibits apps that facilitate the sale of marijuana & # 39; – whether they work legally or not – but the company says it is not trying to get pot-related services from the Google Play Store. Android police noticed the change earlier today, speculating that it might cause problems for the popular weed search apps Eaze and Weedmaps. Google tells The edge that it works with developers to make their apps compatible with the new rules, instead of banning them in the Play Store.
Android apps can apparently still promote the pot, but they are not allowed to offer an "in-app shopping cart function" to help with "arranging delivery or collection of marijuana" or "facilitating the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality."
In a statement to The edge, Google described the changes as less invasive than that language suggests. "These apps simply need to move the flow of the shopping cart outside the app itself to comply with this new policy," said a spokesperson. "We have been in contact with many of the developers and are working with them to answer technical questions and help them implement the changes without interrupting the customer."
Apple & # 39; s App Store already prohibits "facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco or controlled substances" or "encouraging consumption of tobacco products, illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol" via apps. This has led to banning marijuana-related apps in the past, although it has since been relaxed. Weedmaps and Eaze both work on iOS, but they do not offer in-app orders.
Android police links Google & # 39; s new policy to one general pressure for a more child-friendly Play Store. However, if the main problem concerns shopping carts, this might be a way to process pot payments, which is still illegal at the federal level, even if a growing number of states allow it. The edge has contacted Eaze and Weedmaps for more information about what this means for their services and their customers.