Apple Wants To Work With The Legal Cannabis Industry

The most valuable company in the world embraces the idea of working with legal cannabis companies.

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Apple, a company valued at some $2.28 trillion USD is changing its app store policies to once again allow cannabis iOS apps to facilitate transactions.

The company has had a very mixed relationship with cannabis, despite Apple Co-founder & former CEO Steve Jobs having spoken very publicly about his positive relationship with cannabis.

The latest development in this story makes Apple the second trillion-dollar company in the U.S to change its viewpoint on the cannabis industry in the last month, with Amazon publicly declaring its support for cannabis.

Past vs Present Policies

The previous policy stated:

“Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies), marijuana, or tobacco is not allowed.

The new policy states:

“Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies and licensed or otherwise legal cannabis dispensaries), or tobacco is not allowed.”

Legal Cannabis?

The area in need of clarity is how Apple intends to define the term “legal cannabis” — does this mean cannabis needs to be legal at a federal level, or can companies operating in States where cannabis is legal benefit from this?

It seems likely that Apple would roll this out to companies that are operating in regions where cannabis is legal at a federal level, such as Snapchat & Twitter have done to date in allowing Canadian cannabis companies to access their programmatic advertising capabilities.

What About Google?

There may be 900 million Apple devices currently in use, however, Android remains the most popular mobile operating system by a significant margin.

With 2.8 billion Android users worldwide, and with Alphabet (the parent company of Google) controlling which apps are allowed to list on their app store — the ability for cannabis apps to have these same permissions would have a significant positive impact on the cannabis industry.

While we await confirmation as to whether Google will follow Apple’s lead, what we do know is that YouTube (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet) is actively contacting cannabis content creators such that they can for the very first-time place monetize their content on YouTube.

This by no means guarantees that Google will once again allow cannabis apps that sell cannabis to list on the app store, however, it certainly suggests that Google is in the midst of updating its policies in favor of cannabis.

The Opportunity?

The CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi has previously commented on the possibility that Uber would seek to expand their services into cannabis.

With the province of B.C having recently changed its policies to permit cannabis deliveries in the province — it seems increasingly likely that these large delivery startups will stand to benefit the most from this announcement with a clear path to now expand into cannabis, starting in Canada.


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