Word on the street (or at least on CNet) has it that Apple has approved an iPhone application succinctly dubbed Cannabis. For just $2.99, a tap to the touchscreen will locate legal marijuana dealers -- or, under darker circumstances, attorneys who specialize in marijuana arrests. If you're located in a state where medical cannabis is illegal, the app can help you find local branches of advocacy organizations agitating for decriminalization.

It's not surprising Apple would allow the app on the store. The Cupertino, California–based company has had precedents for establishing other progressive (and potentially controversial) corporate policies. It awards full benefits to same-sex companions, and even voiced opposition to California's amendment banning same-sex marriage last year -- an unusual move for a public company.
The Cannabis app, developed by software programmers who are medical cannabis patients, comes on the heels of a medical-cannabis locator system built by pro-marijuana advocacy group Ajnag.org. The Cannabis developers say they will donate 50 cents from every app purchase to marijuana-advocacy causes.

This could be part of a new push to both normalize and more broadly legalize marijuana. California state assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco floated a bill this year to legalize the purchase and state regulation of marijuana for general public consumption. The bill got surprisingly broad support, in part due to estimates that legalizing cannabis would generate nearly $1 billion annually in tax revenue.

I expect a backlash will hit Apple for having greenlighted Cannabis. Legalization opponents call marijuana a gateway drug that leads users to harder narcotic substances. Marijuana advocates, however, argue that the drug is far less dangerous to the public than alcohol, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says figures into 40 percent of all fatal auto accidents.


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