A controversial but popular game in Apple’s App Store has some people up in arms. Called Weed Firm, the game allows users to play the part of a marijuana grower and dealer. Like other popular but more wholesome games, it allows users to develop and grow a business while dealing with setbacks. Users clearly love the game, but critics say it promotes a criminal lifestyle. Amid all the controversy, Apple pulled the game from its store.
Playing a Pot Dealer
The game that garnered so much attention, love and criticism stars weed dealer and businessman Ted Growing. Players take on his persona and grow and develop a weed empire — or fail and get busted by the cops or hit by thieving gangsters. The goal of the game is to grow marijuana, sell it, make a lot of money and avoid the obvious pitfalls that go with running a criminal enterprise. Growing faces the police, violent gangsters, crooked cops, and even strippers as he tries to increase his profits.
The maker of the game, Manitoba Games, attached a disclaimer that states Weed Firm is purely fictional, and gave it an age rating of 17-plus. The game has become so popular that it recently hit the No. 1 spot in the iTunes store for apps.
Critics Assail Weed Firm
Critics of the game and of marijuana use in general launched an outcry over Weed Firm and its popularity. Detractors call it irresponsible, and parents are concerned about its influence on their children, charging that the game glorifies a criminal and dangerous lifestyle. Children and teens are especially vulnerable to the influence of games like these, say the critics. Parents also worry that the game promotes the use of marijuana.
Parents making noise in numbers are powerful. Apple removed Weed Firm from the iTunes store but did not state its reason — the assumption is that the company responded to the avalanche of criticism. Other marijuana-related games remain available, but they don’t enjoy the popularity of Weed Firm. Previously, outraged parents succeeded in getting a game removed that allowed a user to have virtual plastic surgery.
Shifting Attitudes Toward Marijuana
The popularity of the pot-dealing game, as well as the number of similar games available online, may be the result of changing attitudes toward the drug. Many states have legalized medical marijuana, while residents in Colorado and Washington have voted to legalize the drug for recreational use. Attitudes seem to be relaxing, which has some people concerned. The use of marijuana remains illegal, according to the federal government. It alters the mood of the user, impairs motor control, and causes health problems. Furthermore, marijuana is addictive.
The popularity of weed games demonstrates how opinions about marijuana use are shifting. As this change occurs, it is important that parents of young children and teens remain aware of the safety concerns related to the drug. Children and teens are impressionable, and while a single game cannot be blamed for the choices that young people make, it may influence attitudes and ideas.