What a time to be alive! We can order pot online and from apps.
Well, none other than tech giant Google wants to stop you from doing so. They just came up with a crazy rule that banns apps who facilitate cannabis sales, no matter if they are legal or not. However, they claim that they aren’t going to take cannabis businesses off their Google Play Store.
A report from Android Police said that these changes may make it difficult for many popular apps designed to help you find weed nearby. Google changed their rules quietly, though they came out with a statement to clarify their position. “These apps simply need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be compliant with this new policy,” they told Android Police.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the App Store on Apple already forbids “facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances,” as well as “encouraging consumption of tobacco products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol” on apps. They’ve banned many cannabis apps in the past, but have since relaxed their policies.
The Android Police article states that it has become clear who Google’s targets are: Eaze and Weedmaps, both of whom allow in-app ordering for pot. They reached out to Eaze, who told The Android Police: “Eaze connects adults only to licensed, regulated cannabis retailers. 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.”
Facebook Gets Sued For Anti-Cannabis Stance
Earlier this month, the other tech giant Facebook was slapped with a lawsuit because of their anti-cannabis policies.
Felicia Palmer, the plaintiff and founder of Cannaramic Media Inc., is represented by David C. Holland, a NORMAL attorney working with her pro-bono. According to the suit, Facebook Inc. who owns both Instagram and Facebook, has showed “a pattern of censorship and suppression of information” about “legal uses of cannabis”.
The lawsuit was filed after Facebook removed the social media accounts of Palmer, even after she paid her dues for using the site’s advertising services as a means of promoting the Cannaramic Online Summit, an educational course that would enable people to learn about safe ways of consuming the plant.
The suit also states that Palmer used Facebook ads after they “induced” her to buy into their paid advertising services, such as offering cash discounts for using it. “When a private company like Facebook (our largest resource for communication) prohibits the flow of this type of information, it essentially amounts to a threat to the public health, social welfare, and economic vitality of our communities,” Holland disclosed to Forbes.
While cannabis legalization spreads throughout the globe, Facebook still demonizes cannabis. Facebook pages for licensed cannabis companies and even social media influencers still face the possibility of being permanently deleted or blocked for violating their terms of service. Even accounts that don’t promote the consumption of cannabis, like those that are created for social equity, are also being blocked or deleted.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook came under fire for their unfair treatment of legal cannabis businesses. Just last year, Facebook temporarily banned cannabis pages, but lifted the ban just in time for October 17, which was when Canada legalized it. “This is a change in our tactics when it comes to what is discoverable when using Facebook Search. Our Community Standards make it very clear that buying, selling or trading non-medical, pharmaceutical drugs, or marijuana is not allowed on Facebook. People largely find this content that violates our policies by searching for it, so we have made it harder for people to find content that facilitates the sale of drugs on our site. We also look to make content that does not violate our policies discoverable in Search. We use a combination of the latest technology in search ranking and our team of reviewers who work 24/7 to minimize the opportunity for illicit drug sales. We’re constantly auditing and improving this process in order to do better,” Sarah Pollack, a rep for Facebook, told Forbes via email.
Either way you look at it, these tech companies are only doing one thing to the cannabis industry: discrimination.