Microsoft has high hopes for the budding marijuana industry. So much so that it announced that it will enter the pot business through a new partnership with the marijuana tech startup Kind Financial.
With this new partnership, Microsoft could help change corporate America's mind about how it views the drug. The federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, but with medical or recreational marijuana now legalized in 25 states, many people — and companies — have been getting more with the times and accepting. If a company is successful in the growing industry, the green could bring in a whole lot of green.
With more IT companies looking to cash in on the crop, Microsoft is now making the bold decision to join in on the venture.
The company is joining forces with Kind on a software system powered through the Azure cloud service.
The Los Angeles-based startup provides software for "seed to sale tracking." Called Agrisoft Seed to Sale, the software gives retail operations, growers and producers in the cannabis industry the tools it needs to adhere to the rules and laws of the industry and safely secure finances at the point-of-sale.
As part of the partnership with Microsoft, the startup announced the launch of Kind Government Solutions, a division specific to helping government agencies monitor aspects of the marijuana business to make sure distributors remain compliant when it comes to the law.
Kind Government Solutions will use the plant-tracking software with Azure so that regulators can also keep track of the amount of money rolling in. Because of the controversial issue, many banks refuse to work with companies that sell marijuana, which means these owners are left stacking and hiding cash from their sales instead of opening an account.
To be clear, Microsoft is not getting hands-on with the growing or selling of marijuana, or with Kind's A.T.M.-like kiosks it has that provide secure sales in partnership with certain banks that have a more relaxed attitude toward the business. To put it to stoners, it's like Microsoft is taking a puff but not inhaling.
"KIND's strategic industry positioning, experienced team and top-notch-technology running in the Microsoft Azure Government cloud, made for an easy decision to align efforts," Kimberly Nelson, Executive Director State and Local Government Solutions from Microsoft, said in a press release. "KIND agreed that Azure Government is the only cloud platform designed to meet government standards for the closely regulated cannabis compliance programs and we look forward to working together to help our government customers launch successful regulatory programs."
Even though Microsoft is just offering its cloud computing service when it comes to the marijuana business, it does signify that it might not be so risky for big corporations to get their feet wet when it comes to the plant.
Source: The New York Times
Photo: Dank Depot | Flickr