Since Amazon made headlines lobbying for the federal legalization of cannabis, several other “high profile” organizations have made similar headlines by shifting their cannabis policy. One of these companies last June updated their Terms and essentially gave permission for cannabis companies that operate within a legal state access to their platform. The company in question? Apple!
While a few people reported on this, the general gist of the story has faded out of the mainstream’s field of attention due to the immeasurable instances of other “more dire” news, political debates, and, of course, the witch hunt of comedians. Let’s also not forget the prevalence of a little virus known as COVI-19.
Officially, Apple said:
1.4.3 Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies and licensed or otherwise legal cannabis dispensaries), or tobacco is not allowed.
In essence, what Apple is saying is that apps that deal with selling cannabis in states that are legal will not be prohibited from being on their store. Unlike Google, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), and similar tech giants, Apple decide to take a more nuanced approach than the Nancy Raegan “just say no” strategy. Considering that Apple is the most valued company in the world, this is a big deal and will begin to make a definite shift in the hearts and minds of the average American.
The Future Of Weed
What does all of this mean for cannabis in the future? If we take a look at Amazon, their motivation is simple: they want to sell cannabis. Or at the very least, provide a platform where they can leverage their monster wing of logistics to facilitate the distribution of cannabis all over the nation. Considering that 1 in 2 adults have tried cannabis in the past, this could represent billions of dollars.
As for Apple, they want to have more apps on their store. The more apps available on their store, the more their platform remains relevant. The more people can find what they want on Apple’s ecosystem, the less likely they are migrating to other tech solutions to solve their cannabis related problems. Apple tends to be in tune with what the consumer wants, and thus their choice to make a change to their Terms & Agreements means that other companies might follow suit. IF this happens, then the pendulum will begin shifting in favor of legalization quite drastically.
In the future, you’ll be able to use an app on your iPhone to order some weed grown in Hawaii, which would then be shipped via Amazon to your home. In some cases, overnight delivery will be available. However, as the cannabis market continues to expand, we’ll simply see a greater number of choices become available.
Apple, Amazon and even Facebook and Google all technically want a part of this pie, except due to the current federal restrictions, most companies don’t want to play ball. This is why companies like Amazon are funding lobbyists to make national changes in cannabis.
While I’m inherently opposed to the idea of a private organization being able to pay to change laws in their favor, in this particular case it could benefit the greater good.
When Will Weed Be Legal?
Since the 1960s, people have said “five more years and weed will be legal”. For a long time I was on board with that sentiment, and after about the third or fifth “five more year” cycle, I personally gave up on predicting when cannabis will be legally available on a federal level. Nonetheless, there seems to be a strong indication that this year could be the year that some major political shift in policy will happen. Whether this will be beneficial to consumers everywhere is still up for debate.
What is interesting is that these giant tech companies are beginning to shift public opinion even more than it already has.
Marijuana has been a snowball, slowly collecting support as it rolls down hill towards full legalization. With the addition of these big names, we can see that the momentum is only gaining in speed. Therefore, what I personally think is that there will be some major policy shifts not only in the U.S., but in the entire North America.
While the world has been struggling to adapt to a COVID existence, the cannabis industry has been making gigantic leaps, even while every other industry entered into a recession. With more support for legalization than ever, it makes no sense to maintain the status quo that generates no additional revenue, costs the taxpayer billions, and doesn’t seem to even make a dent in the international illicit drug market.
If we’ve tried to prohibit cannabis for the past 50+ years with little to nothing to show for it — except perhaps more drugs than ever before — perhaps it’s time we do the opposite and legalize and regulate cannabis so that it can serve society as it was meant to do.
Apple, Amazon, and the NFL are all big names that have come out to support cannabis — let’s all pressure our representatives so that we can begin to see national policies reflect the attitudes of the general population.
While cannabis may not be good for everyone, everyone should have a fundamental right to choose to consume or not. Currently, that choice is not yours to make. Let’s hope that this massive corporate support for reform gives us back our freedom of choice sooner rather than later.