America's stance on marijuana is changing, and so too are Apple's App Store policies, as the iPhone maker has begun giving the greenlight to cannabis-related apps, provided they are accessed from a state where the drug has been legalized.
Apple's change was spotlighted on Friday by the makers of the app MassRoots, a social networking application for cannabis users. Apple has allowed MassRoots back into the App Store with a new mandatory geolocation check that will prevent users outside of authorized territories from accessing the network.
The change comes after the developers of MassRoots and other marijuana advocacy groups petitioned Apple to consider changing its stance on barring drug-themed applications from the App Store.
"We'd like to thank the App Store for embracing the cannabis community and continuing to set an example as a socially-progressive institution," the MassRoots team wrote. "We are excited to begin a new chapter with Apple in which we can work together to affect meaningful societal change."
With its acceptance into the App Store, the self-described "voice of the cannabis community" said it now has "a duty to show the world that cannabis consumption can be done in a safe and responsible manner in compliance" with the law. The developer said it plans to add new features and security measures that go beyond even Apple's requirements in the coming weeks.
Since the late 1990s, 23 U.S. states and Washington D.C. have legalized the sale and use of cannabis in one form or another, whether restricted to medical needs or for recreational use. The states where it is legal, and marijuana-related iOS apps should be accessible, are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island