Apples and pot have long been a popular combo—pot pipes fashioned out of apples are a thing—and now iPhones are a more versatile tool for enterprising marijuana fans. The company is lightening up when it comes to legal weed, lifting a ban on pot-focused apps.
"Every marijuana app developer we've talked to has seen a dramatic, positive improvement in their experience with Apple," said Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots, a social app where marijuana enthusiasts message one another and share pictures.
Dietrich sounded a bit triumphant today in an e-mail to Adweek, which reported on his Apple petition last month. MassRoots joined dozens of tech companies in the pot space that asked Apple to change its policies prohibiting certain apps from the store.
The weed apps contended that Apple seemed arbitrary in the way it applied its rules. Meanwhile, Google's Android mobile platform permits similar businesses.
Dietrich said he received a call from an Apple rep this week saying his petition was heard and the company would be more open to such apps.
"Our efforts were successful. The App Store is permitting cannabis social apps that are geo-restricted to the 23 states that have legalized medicinal cannabis," he said. "It is extremely rare for Apple to ban an app and then later restore it."
Apple did not immediately return a request for comment. MassRoots is now showing up in the iTunes store.
The pot business has been maturing since Colorado and Washington legalized recreational, alongside medicinal, pot use. Tech companies dedicated to the pot trade have flourished, raising $100 million in venture capital last year, according to CB Insights.
Still, in the digital world, there has been resistance to such businesses. Apps have faced censorship, and pot-themed Web publications have been blocked from online ad networks.
Social media has been punishing terrain in some cases, with Instagram taking down accounts that share pictures of the drug, and Facebook is known for strict policies against marketing from marijuana businesses.
Still, there are some signs that the rest of the tech world is shifting its position, Apple being the latest. Google search results have shown ads from pot dispensaries, and Twitter has sold ads for pot-based apps, for instance.