Apple has reversed its decision to ban Massroots, a social networking app for marijuana users. The app was originally pulled from the App Store two weeks ago under guidelines that forbid "apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances." To keep to this rule, however, Apple is only permitting Massroots to return with new location-based restrictions: only users from the 23 US states that have legalized medicinal cannabis will be able to log in.
"We do not take this task lightly."
The app's creators announced the news on their blog, promising that they would not let their users (or Apple) down: "We do not take this task lightly. Over the coming weeks, we will be implementing new features to strengthen our compliance even beyond what is currently required." The app's main use may be as a picture-sharing tool for people who like to admire well-made joints, but it also prides itself on its advocacy, encouraging legalization campaigns and marijuana businesses to use its network.
"A tremendous amount of responsibility has just been placed on MassRoots; we have a duty to show the world that cannabis consumption can be done in a safe and responsible manner in compliance with state laws and federal enforcement guidelines," wrote Massroots in a blog post. A commitment you can witness for yourself on the company's Vine account.
It's not yet clear how ironclad the geo restrictions on the app are. Macrumors notes that it's possible that users can bypass the app's location-check by simply registering for an account on the website. (Note: when The Verge tried this we couldn't register — although we were trying to sign in from Europe.) It's also not clear whether users who register an account from a compliant state will then be able to use the app from elsewhere in the US, or if this decision will apply to all marijuana-related apps in the future. Neither Massroots nor Apple had yet to respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.