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Apple lets weed grow into the App Store with geofencing policy

Apple relaxes a little.


Taylor Hatmaker


Posted on Feb 13, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 1:11 pm CDT

Apple might be cracking down on gun imagery in the App Store, but it’s loosened its collar a bit when it comes to getting high. After pulling a marijuana social networking app called MassRoots last November, Apple may have found a solution for how to handle the influx of weed apps trying to grow into its walled garden.

With marijuana now some flavor of legal in 23 states, Apple’s skittish pot policy couldn’t last forever. Now the company will enforce geofencing guidelines to verify that anyone using a weed-related app is within the bounds of a state with medical marijuana licensing or marijuana decriminalization laws. 

MassRoots, a sort of social platform for marijuana enthusiasts, boasts a bright UI and 467 reviews with a 4.5 star rating. The app bills itself as a medical marijuana community where users upload and curate profiles and can review and discover new strains. 

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Meanwhile, Apple doesn’t bother with other marijuana local discovery and review apps. Leafly, a stoner mainstay, has been in the iOS App Store since 2011, back when medical marijuana was a phenomenon enjoyed by far fewer states.

Apple’s App Store policies have been notoriously uneven, and unevenly enforced, since the software portal debuted in 2008. Geofencing can’t totally ease Apple’s worries—there are enough ways around it with tricks like jailbreaking, after all. Still, for the ever-cautious company, it’s cheap insurance while legal pot spreads from state to state like so many tiny, loosely rolled wildfires.

H/T Quartz, MassRoots | Photo via cwhitfield/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Feb 13, 2015, 8:48 pm CST