This past summer, a little recognized thing occurred — one of the largest and most respected companies in the world quietly changed its policies in favor of cannabis. That company was Apple. As a result, they joined the ranks of Amazon as a global corporation advocating for policy reform that would open a federally legal, commercial cannabis industry in the United States.
For years, large tech companies, including Facebook and Google, have refused to acknowledge the legality of industrial hemp, let alone the legality of medical or recreational marijuana. Finally, Apple bucked that trend. In June, the fine print of Apple’s “App Store Review Guidelines” release stated that apps handling sales and delivery of medical and recreational cannabis in legal jurisdictions are now allowed on the App Store. This was monumental.
Unlike the big headlines we’ve seen recently from Amazon, Uber, the NFL, and other mainstream, institutional businesses, showing a positively changing attitude toward cannabis, Apple made no big-splash announcement that this had happened. Yet, this change came at a time of a shift in the cannabis paradigm for voters, policymakers, and the average American.
As we’ve discussed previously, U.S. voters are shifting rapidly and dramatically in favor of cannabis legalization. The most recent Gallup poll showed that 68% of American voters support some form of legalization. There’s also tremendous momentum from the recent unveiling of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
The financial technology experts at Artis Intel are ahead of the curve in identifying the imperative to collaborate with tech leaders like Apple to update policy to reflect the mainstream adoption of cannabis. Co-Founder and CMO of Artis, Adair Lion shares, “As a fintech company on the cutting-edge of development in both cannabis and retail, Apple’s Policy changes are a monumental shift in the way our society does mobile transactions.”
When political leaders and Fortune 100 companies begin modifying policies and behavior to accommodate something that has been seen as fringe, elicit, or otherwise illegal, the hearts and minds of American start to change. It’s safe to say the tide is turning.
This is the kind of influence that sets the tone for mainstream behavior. Think back to the early days of Babe Ruth and baseball, where ball players were smoking cigarettes in the dugout and cigarette advertisements abounded. Or more recently, Elon Musk and Tesla’s support of cryptocurrency which influenced much wider adoption and made the price of Bitcoin soar.
The fine print of Apple’s policy update states that apps involved in the sale of cannabis are exclusive to licensed legal entities and strictly require geo-fencing within the legal jurisdiction. This requires an enormous amount of technological and regulatory compliance and is precisely where a fintech software company like Artis could excel. Consumer behavior shows the need for embedded digital payment technology. There’s been modest growth in payment and technology solutions for the cannabis industry and ancillary service providers. This is in no small part due to federal illegality and the fragmented nature of the industry.
Apple’s policy adjustments are just an example of the level of innovation and attention to detail that Artis is providing to the cannabis industry. What is it that propels some tech companies above the rest? It’s those that provide solutions for the world’s most complex problems. It’s plain to see that cannabis has presented enormous complexity to politicians, enterprise businesses, and just about every other imaginable cog in the machine of our modern world.
The contributions of experienced professionals are unequivocally what is necessary to propel cannabis further into the mainstream. These are the building blocks, the intimate details, that ultimately bring to reality the hopes of grand legislation, like the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. Compliant and lawful participation in the cannabis ecosystem is paramount to widespread, mainstream adoption. As one who has had to navigate the grey areas of cannabis law for many years – and I’m as honest as a Denver man can be – I will always applaud the hard work to deliberately pave the way forward for this industry.