Microsoft is based in Washington where cannabis is legal and has now teamed up with a California based technology company, which helps businesses and government agencies track sales of legalized marijuana.
Microsoft is partnering with a software company named Kind Financial, which develops compliance solutions for state and local governments. The software is meant to help states that have legalized the medical or recreational use of marijuana keep tabs on sales and commerce, ensuring that they remain in the daylight of legality. Kind Financial is hosting its seed-to-sale platform on the Microsoft Azure Government cloud.
Microsoft is recognizing the growth of the legal cannabis industry and of course it wants to benefit from the booming market opportunity. Many see the fact that Microsoft is willing to attach its name to the marijuana industry as a big step to gaining acceptance for marijuana, for both recreational use and medical use.
The conflict between state and federal laws on marijuana has hobbled the cannabis industry, with many start-up cannabis businesses unable to take advantage of banking, for example. Loans are difficult to obtain for a lot of marijuana businesses. Many dispensaries have been forced to rely on cash for all transactions or looked to companies like Kind with its kiosks that take payments inside dispensaries.
The partnership with Kind is yet another bold step for Microsoft as its looks to replace the revenue from its fading desktop software business. On Monday, it announced that it was buying LinkedIn.
Not only big tech companies like Microsoft, but many other businesses are beginning to realize the potential of the cannabis market. Even harmless crops like hemp (a closely related strain of cannabis) have been outlawed, cultivating it is off limits.
Hopefully, the natural, superfood potential of hemp and the medical properties of marijuana will be increasingly recognized in the future.