Apple snuffs out popular pot-dealing app

After smoking the top of the charts on iTunes this week, Weed Firm has been kicked out of Apple's App Store.

weed-firm.jpg
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

A game that followed the adventures of marijuana dealer Ted Growing will have to find a new place to grow.

Following a brief rise to stardom, Weed Firm has been given its walking papers from Apple. On Monday, the free app made it all the way to the top of the charts on iTunes after earning generally happy reviews from its users.

But as of Wednesday, the game is no longer available in the App Store, a move that Weed Firm developer Manitoba Games described as "entirely Apple's decision, not ours." And just why did Apple yank the app?

"We guess the problem was that the game was just too good and got to number one in All Categories, since there are certainly a great number of weed based apps still available, as well as games promoting other so-called 'illegal activities' such as shooting people, crashing cars, and throwing birds at buildings," Manitoba Games suggested.

More likely, the app ran afoul of Apple's strict guidelines. Though Apple obviously had to approve the app in the first place, the coverage of Weed Firm's moment in the sun may have prompted the company to re-evaluate its decision.

Manitoba described Weed Firm's tale as such: "Follow the story of an expelled botany sophomore Ted Growing as he inherits a growing operation and expands it. Learn to grow weed, plant new varieties to increase your yields, expand your customer base, and interact with the characters to become the biggest weed dealer in town."

Over the course of the game, Ted also had to grapple with dangerous gangsters and crooked cops. And in a more adult-oriented twist, a stripper promises to do a lap dance if you can cough up the right amount of cash.

Android users are also out of luck as the app is no longer available at Google Play. But Manitoba blamed the app's ouster there on its publisher. Whatever the reason, the developer vows that the app will return.

"The Apple version might need to be censored a bit to comply with Apple's strictest requirement since they are going to be looking very attentively at what we submit from now on," Manitoba said. "Google never had a problem with the application itself. The problem was with our publisher and we are expecting to return to the Play Store once we find a suitable publisher."

Manitoba also defended the controversial pot-dealing app:

"As for the other platforms, we will endeavor to make it as censorship free as possible while assigning the highest maturity rating to the game. We do not want kids playing Weed Firm, but we firmly believe that adults should have a choice to do whatever the hell they want as long as they are not hurting anybody in the process.

"If we let hypocrites determine what content is suitable for us we will soon all be watching 'Teletubbies' instead of 'Breaking Bad' and playing...oh I don't know...nothing good comes to mind, without some form of 'illegal activity' or other really."

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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