A new milestone has been reached in the battle for high quality, readily available cannabis-related content: TheWeedTube, a cannabis video and news platform created and curated by dozens of former YouTube creators who were kicked off the Google-owned site during its drug-related video purge, is now available in the Apple App Store.
Apple’s App Store is historically difficult to break into, as Apple critiques and reviews app submissions ad nauseam before allowing a company into its roster. Add to that submitting an app whose concentration is a yet-to-be-fully-legalized product like cannabis, and what TheWeedTube has done here seems even more impressive. With the iPhone still a massive slice of the worldwide phone pie, having your app in its App Store is tantamount to long term success. (The Android app marketplace, in contrast, is totally welcoming to developers of all kinds — this makes its app library both massive and a bit hit and miss, as quality control is simply not as important to the Android user market.)
TheWeedTube was launched in March 2018 with a mission to normalize the perception of cannabis. Speaking with Cannabis Now, TheWeedTube co-founder Arend Richard — formerly known as The Gay Stoner on YouTube, where he had been creating videos about cannabis and modern queer life for years and had amassed a following of more than 127 thousands subscribers — recounts the complicated process it took to get TheWeedTube into the App Store’s rotation.
“We had to apply multiple times because we kept getting rejected for various given reasons,” Richard says. “Eventually, the last time Apple rejected us, they came clean and told us that they did not like the content on
Interestingly, Apple is in hot water over a recent Supreme Court ruling which gives the right to sue for millions of iPhone owners accusing Apple of monopolizing the market for its apps. Revenue from the App Store is more important than ever for Apple as iPhone sales — new iPhones that is — have dropped considerably.
“Android’s Google Play Store accepted our app almost immediately,” Richard says. “It’s funny how each platform treats these things so differently. Apple does a lot of policing. Eventually, after being rejected for the third time by the Apple team, we took more responsibility and came back to them with a letter that said we understood the liability of taking on user-generated content like ours, but that we believed it was an app that needed to be on there. And not for nothing, we also said it would be in Apple’s best interest to accept TheWeedTube especially with the legalization that’s coming soon. And then they finally approved us!”
People in the LGBTQ+ community have always been instrumental in forwarding cannabis culture (read up on Harvey Milk and Dennis Peron), and the fact that Richard is an openly gay founder of a cannabis platform holds true to that heritage. Laganja Estranja, an LA-based cannabis-themed drag queen and performer well known for her time on the massively popular show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” is a contributor to TheWeedTube and a close friend and supporter of Richard and other queer people in the cannabis industry.
“I think getting into the app store is going to change TheWeedTube,” she says. “For accessibility, the app is key. I’m sure there will be a lot more interactions and viewers now, which helps creators like me get paid. There are a lot of LGBTQ+ creators on TheWeedTube, and it’s important that we’re supported. This is a really huge deal for TheWeedTube and for queers in cannabis!”
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