Marijuana testing lab operator Pazoo, Inc. welcomes big biz legitimizing the industry.
Three days after investing in LinkedIn Corp. in a record-setting $26 billion deal, Microsoft announced its first venture into the world of marijuana, according to the following report in Market Watch.
Microsoft struck up a partnership with KIND Financial to provide seed-to-sale software to state and local governments for the management of cannabis commerce and distribution.
The deal makes Microsoft one of the first major technology companies—and one of the first major publicly traded companies — to acknowledge the rapid legalization of marijuana, with recreational use already legalized in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Washington D.C., and up for vote soon in five other major states, including California.
Major brands have been mute on the controversial topic, but more have started to show their support as acceptance has spread. Last month, Walgreens Boots Alliance posted a blog touting research showing the benefits of medical marijuana, which is now legal in 24 states.
The legal marijuana industry is expected to balloon in coming years. Sales of legalized marijuana are projected to hit $6.7 billion this year, compared with $5.4 billion a year ago, according to industry tracker ArcView Market Research.
Will service government agencies
KIND Financial is using Microsoft’s cloud platform to build out its services for government agencies. According to Marijuana.com., a team at Microsoft will help clients navigate regulations and laws, while tracking legal cannabis commerce and helping to stop product from reaching the black market.
In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company “supports government missions to regulate and monitor controlled substances and items, from the Justice Department regulating tobacco and firearms to a state regulating legal cannabis.”
Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, complicating the development of the sector as federally-insured banks are reluctant to do business with companies that grow or distribute it. And many states do not have policies in place to allow for medical marijuana use. Last month, Nasdaq rejected MassRoots’ listing, saying the marijuana technology company, which acts as an industry-specific social network, might be seen as “aiding and abetting the distribution of an illegal substance.”