In an unprecedented move, Microsoft is diving into the burgeoning legal marijuana industry. The Washington-headquartered tech company is teaming up with KIND Financial to revolutionize the seed-to-sale software model, Marijuana.com reports. The software helps local and state governments ensure their respective weed businesses are in compliance with the increasingly complicated list of laws and regulations.
"No one can predict the future of cannabis legalization, however, it is clear that legalized cannabis will always be subject to strict oversight and regulations similar to alcohol and tobacco," KIND founder and CEO David Dinenberg said Thursday. "KIND is proud to offer governments and regulatory agencies the tools and technology to monitor cannabis compliance." If the idea of a major AF company like Microsoft getting into the weed business seems like a huge fucking deal to you, well, that's because it definitely is.
KIND, described as "the leader in technology for cannabis compliance," hopes the fresh Microsoft co-sign will garner some government contracts for their seed-to-sale tracking system. Microsoft won't be taking a cut of any of their contracts, though, opting instead to benefit from the fact that KIND will have to purchase more server space with each new contract:
KIND's Agrisoft Seed to Sale for Government is the core of KIND's platform for governments and regulatory agencies to regulate and monitor all aspects of cannabis compliance. Agrisoft Seed to Sale for Government collects and monitors the critical data needed to track compliance with the state and jurisdictional rules, laws and regulations governing cannabis-related businesses.
"KIND agreed that [Microsoft's] 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," Kimberly Nelson, Executive Director of State and Local Government Solutions at Microsoft, said in a press release.
As noted by Marijuana Majority founder Tom Angell, Microsoft boss Bill Gates revealed to BuzzFeed back in 2014 that he voted in favor of Washington state's 2012 legalization proposal. "I think people are going about this trying to make sure it's labeled well, trying to make sure you're collecting taxes so more than any of the additional state costs that will get imposed by this thing are funded by the consumers," Gates said, adding that he considered Washington's recreational marijuana system part of a larger "experiment" preceding revamped national policy.
That "experiment" has reaped big rewards for Washington and other weed-friendly states, with the resulting tax revenues already being put to
good great use. In Colorado, for example, legal weed is helping kids land a more affordable college education. 25 students were recently selected to receive $1,000 each toward their college expenses, according to USA Today.
Ellen Komp, Deputy Director for marijuana advocacy group California NORML, touts the Microsoft entry into the booming marijuana business as another step in the right direction. "Another benchmark is reached," Komp told Complex on Thursday. "I hope that governments are tracking plutonium as carefully as they're tracking marijuana."