Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced this week that it would cooperate with cannabis compliance firm Kind to start offering software that can track marijuana from seed to sale, becoming the first big name company to go into the legal marijuana business.
Kind, a Los Angeles start-up company that already entered the legal marijuana business, offering products that help to take legal marijuana business mainstream, such as kiosks that help with marijuana sales, and working with some state-chartered banks. Kind also built the software system Agrisoft to maintain the compliance of marijuana business with the state rules and laws by collecting and monitoring related data. Microsoft Corporation will cooperate with Kind to market Agrisoft through its Azure cloud service to state agencies, helping them to supervise the legality of marijuana by keeping tabs on sales and commerce.
Microsoft Corporation will only work with the Kind’s “government solutions” division to offer the service to state agencies. The firm will not be involved in the actual plants and Kind’s kiosks.
The recreational use of marijuana is already legalized in states like Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Washington D.C., and is up for vote soon in California. It is expected that the sales of legalized marijuana will reach $6.7 billion this year, a $1.3 billion increase from $5.4 billion last year.
Diving into the marijuana business is a bold step for Microsoft, especially when other big companies stay away the marijuana market. However, it is also a new chance for Microsoft to go into the new market where its major competitors in cloud services haven’t entered.
“We do think there will be significant growth. As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road.” said Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft Corporation. The founder and chief executive of Kind, David Dinenberg also said it had taken a long time to persuade the first big name company to get on board.