The Wall Street Journal's "App Watch" today features a real gem of an iPhone application for anyone living in California who needs their fix of medical marijuana fast. The application provides map pin drops, contact information and ratings of more than 800 medical marijuana dispensaries in California. "iPot" once gain seems to indicate that the sky's the limit for application developer creativity. Or maybe the limit is Apple's fickle approval process.
Interestingly, when you load up the application, it provides a disclaimer, which explains:
iPot was developed in order to build support for a 2010 California state proposal to tax marijuana. This measure will generate a much needed revenue boost to help cure California's state budget deficit and fund important education and municipal programs.
I noted that proposal a while back. It's interesting to see this application used as a political tool towards that end. The app is offered in two versions: one is free and includes banner ads, and one costs $2 and includes ratings (which show one to five pot leafs, instead of stars), reviews, additional info and no ads.
Apple has come under considerable fire for its control over which applications are approved for its iPhones. So it might be surprising that an application called iPot, used to locate where you can purchase marijuana would be given the green light. Even one of its creators Chris Seta from NexStudios expected it to be denied. The WSJ reports:
The company held its breath after submitting iPot to Apple for approval. "We have had apps launched in the past that have been denied," he said, including a Chuck Norris joke generator and a Kama Sutra-based app, but to its surprise, iPot made it through. "It was so surprising to us," he said.
The application has been downloaded nearly 100,000 times since its release in July, according to WSJ. So its success is obvious, and probably not shocking, since several hundred thousand people in California have prescriptions for medical marijuana. And since it's legal, there really isn't much reason why Apple should have disallowed it. After all, it's like a doctor finder. Sort of.
But as Seta alludes to, its approval does make Apple's formula for application consideration seem even more opaque. What's so bad about Chuck Norris and so good about California's sometimes criticized medical marijuana industry? Only the mighty app judges at Apple know for sure.