It may have hit the top spot on iTunes App Store, but the marijuana entrepreneurial game Weed Firm was not spared from the ambiguity that characterizes the rest of the marijuana industry. After making it to Number 1 on the download charts, the app was unceremoniously eliminated in a move that has left the game’s developer and many customers befuddled. At the time of this writing, Apple has yet to make a statement as to why Weed Firm was removed from its listings.
Weed Firm follows the travails of a marijuana dealer named Ted Growing who works his way through what is termed a “vicious and lawless career”, as he grows cannabis and sells the crop all the while avoiding dirty cops and all sorts of criminal elements. At some point during the game, players even have the opportunity to pay for a lap dance.
Not surprisingly, the company responsible for the development of Weed Firm, Manitoba Games, was dumbfounded at the removal of their game, which had managed to hit the number one spot in all the categories in which it was listed. In a statement released by the company, the only explanation they could give was that “[perhaps] the game was just too good”.
The pull out of Weed Firm is especially remarkable since Apple hasn’t pulled out any other marijuana-related apps from the App Store. Among the weed-related apps still in the App Store roster at present are Weed Maps, which helps users track down medical marijuana dispensaries in their area, and Weed Tycoon, which gives players the opportunity to set up in-game marijuana shops, set prices for different cannabis strains, and buy farmlands on which to cultivate marijuana.
The continued presence of these apps on App Store was not lost on Manitoba Game developers, who decried the removal of Weed Firm even as several marijuana-related apps remain available. The company also made mention of many other games that actually depicted illegal activities, and yet remain available on the App Store. For the game development firm, the removal of Weed Firm was inexplicable given the continued availability of games that depicted activities such as “shooting people and crashing cars”.
The company also defends its game by saying that although the lead character in Weed Firm is involved in a “lawless” pursuit, trading in marijuana is actually legal in Colorado and many other states. Spokespersons at Manitoba Games also said that the game’s opening credits do not constitute a manual for growing or dealing marijuana, and that it is purely fictional.
The removal of Weed Firm is perhaps an indication of the continued ambiguity that surrounds that marijuana industry. Although as many as twenty-two states have already legalized marijuana for medical use (two of them for recreational use), the substance remains illegal as far as the federal government is concerned.
In any case, Manitoba Games is currently implementing slight changes that will hopefully get the game back on the App Store charts. The company is also working on getting the game back on the Google Play listings after issues with the game publisher caused its removal from that store’s roster.