Loud Attempt at Uber for Weed!

January 27, 2015
App Development,General,Tech News

America goes Uber for Weed, but Law Enforcers and Apple just say ‘No’

Back in July 2014, American rideshare giants Uber launched LA’s first medical marijuana delivery app, after partnering with Weedmaps – a map service which locates your nearest medical marijuana dispensaries.

America’s recent push towards marijuana legalisation – with Alaska, Washington and Oregon all following in Colorado’s footsteps last year – has brought with the inevitable rise of weed-related tech start-ups. Since Uber for Weed’s inception in July, more than six start-ups have successfully created medical marijuana delivery apps across certain parts of the united states.

However, just as the rise was inevitable; so was the government crackdown. In December, Uber for Weed was successfully shut-down by the local LA government and it has now been reported that they are also suing them to further stamp them down.

American cannabis legislation has always been complicated; with federal law clashing with state law, as well as a lot of fine-print with regards to the freedom of trading, delivery, profitability and medical and recreational usage of the drug – all of which differs greatly from state-to-state.

“Count Viper Apps out”!

This, however, has not deterred many tech entrepreneurs from tapping into this new fruitful market (those who do are now being dubbed ‘ganjapreneurs)’; some analysts have claimed that it is very much in the interests of those in the tech and business world to make marijuana America’s next premium product. Count Viper Apps out of developing this software!

Despite congress recently urging federal law enforcers to ‘ease off’ on penalising marijuana usage, many feds and local government officials have still declared that they will ‘crack-down’ on smartphone weed-delivery services. But, as is the way of the modern world, just as soon as some shut down; more pop-up.

To put it into sporting terms: the law enforcers are the menacing, staunch defenders, whilst the ‘ganjapreneurs’ are skillful, quick-thinking strikers trying to sidestep each obstacle that is put in front of them.

The latest start-up to launch an app providing such a service is Canary – which launched in Seattle on Saturday the 17th of January – and it could just be the most skilled one yet. Despite Seattle’s Mayor threatening strict repercussions for any marijuana delivery services in December, the app’s launch went ahead just over a month later – partnering with 8 dispensaries throughout the city in just-over one week.

Though launched in Seattle, Canary was developed by two students at the University of Washington. The app’s service has covered its back pretty well by having  a strict sign-up service, which requires users to provide their green card, photo ID and medical marijuana card – all of which is verified and officiated before membership is awarded. Despite several complications, the launch went ahead following legal advice and, thus far, it appears that the guys at Canary have not broken the law…not yet at least; only time will tell how far the success and legality of this app will go.

Its not just the law enforcers who have turned against the marijuana app industry; this week Apple also decided to remove all marijuana delivery apps from their App Store. When asked  by the Denver Post why, they replied; “Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users.”

Could we see similar apps appear in Europe in the near future?

In Holland and Portugal, the only two countries which might have the legislation which could permit such a service, nothing large-scale exists which is similar to the type of apps appearing across the Atlantic. Throughout Europe, such services are resigned to the black market, but, if legislation progresses in the same way as that of America’s; we could see similar start-ups appearing in the not-too-distant future.

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