Have an iPhone and wish you could talk about your love of cannabis with like-minded people on social media? Then rejoice, for Apple’s App Store lifted its ban on cannabis-related software on February 13, 2015, according to a blog post on the MassRoots site. What appears to be the world’s first and strongest cannabis-based social media app is back for iPad and iPhone users in the 23 states where medical marijuana is legal.
The app’s triumphant return was credited to the more than 10,000 supporters who emailed and petitioned the App Store. There was just one rule that MassRoots said its company was told to follow: only people in the 23 legal medical marijuana states are permitted to download the app. According to TechCrunch, Apple will determine that by “geolocation.”
MassRoots was unceremoniously booted from the App Store when the rules changed to prohibit cannabis apps from being available for download to iOS devices. MassRoots has been available for Android devices since July 2013.
Searching Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines for the words “marijuana,” “cannabis” and “drugs” will not yield results. The word illegal appears five times in the guidelines, but only one instance really applies. Under the Functionality section, it says, “Apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes, will be rejected.” Perhaps MassRoots is more about stoner culture than excessive consumption.
The other section that could apply to cannabis-themed apps in the App Store guidelines appears under the legal requirements, where it says, “Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.” Given this rule, it’s clear that MassRoots won’t be available in Kansas anytime soon.
MassRoots also credited support from the National Cannabis Industry Association, cannabis trade association, and the ArcView Group, a cannabis investment network, for facilitating the change in Apple’s policies about cannabis apps. Now that MassRoots is back in the App Store, that paves the way for cannabis app developers to target both the iOS and Android markets.
While MassRoots was dismissed from the App Store for a period of time, not all cannabis apps broke Apple’s policies. For instance, the WeedMaps app remained in App Store, but the app is clearly less about weed and all about the map.
When looking at the app and its social media, MassRoots is like Twitter and Instagram had a baby, and then “Pineapple Express” and “Half Baked” had a baby, and then those two babies … maybe that’s a bit far. Suffice it to say that MassRoots is a safe place to be social about cannabis online.
MassRoots is awesome for what it is: a place where people can hold candid conversations about cannabis with other like-minded people, without crossing channels with Facebook and Twitter. If cannabis and iOS users in states with legal medical cannabis didn’t miss the MassRoots app while it was gone, they should have. According to MassRoots, 41 percent of the population of the United States resides in states with legal cannabis.