We live in an “there’s an app for that” society now.
Need a ride? There’s Lyft, Uber, and a host of competitors ready to connect you with a driver at the click of a button. Running low on groceries? Want some fresh music to fill the silence? Maybe you’re ready to swipe right for a soulmate? The app stores run by Apple and Google truly offer a solution to seemingly every issue — except, until now, cannabis.
Using the same no-tolerance policies that other tech bigwigs like Facebook have instituted, both Apple and Google banned apps like one required to change the settings on PAX’s line of vaporizer products. Fortunately, a new era has arrived at last with the July 7 announcement that Apple had approved an app from cannabis delivery service Eaze.
As one of the bigger players in the industry, Eaze is known for connecting customers with cannabis products and drivers in specific geographies. The company is not, however, “plant-touching” by the letter of the law. Regardless, thanks to Apple’s change of heart, Eaze customers are now able to buy and pay for pot products for delivery directly from their smartphones.
In a statement provided to BusinessWire, Eaze CEO Rogelio Choy celebrated the news and underscored the importance of Apple’s decision.
“Eaze has always been about using the latest developments in technology to make shopping for legal cannabis more accessible,” Choy said. “It’s hard to overstate how important this is to our company and the industry. It’s deeply gratifying to launch the Apple Store’s first fully-functional cannabis delivery app, making it even easier for our two million registered customers to legally consume.”
Interestingly, the crux of the change has arguably less to do with cannabis itself and more to do with rules concerning in-app commerce from Apple. It’s quite a complicated subject but the gist of has to do with Apple not wanting other apps to earn revenue outside of the app ecosystem, which in turn provides Apple with a cut.
It goes far beyond cannabis, but speaking specifically of pot, things definitely just got a whole lot easier.
By previously not allowing customers to make in-app purchases, anyone wanting to order from Eaze was required to leave an old version of the app – which functioned primarily as a glorified link – and instead complete their order on a (far less sleek) mobile version of the Eaze website. With the Eaze app now approved, the whole transaction, from product selection to payment, can take place within the app.
Given the prevalence of apps – not just in quantity, but in our daily reliance on them for, well, everything – this positive step in the relationship between Big Tech and legal cannabis may be but the tip of a far greater iceberg. Though Google is still presently banning cannabis apps from its store, Apple’s move should encourage a number of other frustrated cannabis-related app developers to see if the new rules will permit them to at last land in the store too.
As previously mentioned, there are several hardware companies making products popular in the cannabis space who have also had their apps pulled.
Given those apps don’t even specifically reference cannabis – they are categorized as “vaping-related” apps — they may not get the benefit of this new policy from Apple. Removed during the height of the VAPI crisis, this pool of apps represents another way in which Apple has inflicted its own moral preferences into what should ostensibly be a free marketplace governed by the law of the land.
It’s too early to say if this milestone moment for Eaze will lead to a larger ripple effect that ultimately benefits the folks at companies like PAX, Airgraft, and the like, but if nothing else, it appears a new opening to the argument is at least on the table. Furthermore, getting to play in the land of apps offers a lot of tantalizing possibilities. Is it so crazy to imagine there could one day be cannabis ghost kitchens offering regional delivery akin to what’s happening with UberEats, DoorDash, etc. at the moment? Why not?
But even if the right reasons don’t appeal, there’s also the undeniable sales numbers that would only skyrocket further from full digital integration via major app stores. With Eaze’s app up and running, it appears that clock is now ticking.
Case in point: on July 19, the Jay-Z affiliated brand Caliva joined the party as well with an Apple app store of its own.