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Google Kicks In-App Cannabis Sales Out Of Play Store

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Google fell in line with federal law late Wednesday, banning the in-app purchase or delivery facilitation of THC-based cannabis products as well as any in-app functions that arrange for delivery or pick up of marijuana. Such apps aren’t getting the boot, but much like Apple’s App store policy,&nbsp;“These apps simply need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be compliant with this new policy,”&nbsp;a Google spokesperson said in a statement to Forbes.

Recreational marijuana is legal in ten states as well as Washington, D.C., but remains illegal under federal law. Facilitating the sale of cannabis remains illegal, and banks steer clear of doing business with the growing industry to avoid federal money laundering rules. As Alphabet, Google’s parent company, stated in its Q4 report in April, “we are also regularly subject to claims, suits, regulatory and government investigations.”

The SAFE Banking Act, which would provide protection from federal law for entities that come into contact with cannabis commerce, enjoys bipartisan support. Until it is passed, Silicon Valley giants are playing it safe. Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, also prohibit the promotion and sale of cannabis products and have shut down many cannabis-related accounts, although some have been able to sneak in non-advertorial content.

“Google’s decision is a disappointing development that only helps the illegal market thrive,” a spokesperson from Eaze, a cannabis delivery platform, said in a statement. Eaze’s app is still on the Play store, but will now have its features limited to content and delivery tracking – similar to the app’s features on the Apple App store. As with the Android Play policy, users order cannabis products outside of the app, through the website.

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Google fell in line with federal law late Wednesday, banning the in-app purchase or delivery facilitation of THC-based cannabis products as well as any in-app functions that arrange for delivery or pick up of marijuana. Such apps aren’t getting the boot, but much like Apple’s App store policy, “These apps simply need to move the shopping cart flow outside of the app itself to be compliant with this new policy,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to Forbes.

Recreational marijuana is legal in ten states as well as Washington, D.C., but remains illegal under federal law. Facilitating the sale of cannabis remains illegal, and banks steer clear of doing business with the growing industry to avoid federal money laundering rules. As Alphabet, Google’s parent company, stated in its Q4 report in April, “we are also regularly subject to claims, suits, regulatory and government investigations.”

The SAFE Banking Act, which would provide protection from federal law for entities that come into contact with cannabis commerce, enjoys bipartisan support. Until it is passed, Silicon Valley giants are playing it safe. Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, also prohibit the promotion and sale of cannabis products and have shut down many cannabis-related accounts, although some have been able to sneak in non-advertorial content.

“Google’s decision is a disappointing development that only helps the illegal market thrive,” a spokesperson from Eaze, a cannabis delivery platform, said in a statement. Eaze’s app is still on the Play store, but will now have its features limited to content and delivery tracking – similar to the app’s features on the Apple App store. As with the Android Play policy, users order cannabis products outside of the app, through the website.

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