Sunday, June 19, 2016
Microsoft announced on Thursday they are partnering with KIND Financial to help governments track the production and distribution of legal marijuana. Kind Financial, a California-based start-up company, began selling its Agrisoft Seed to Sale software three years ago. Microsoft is admitting Kind’s software on the Government portion of its Azure cloud service.
Although Kind Financial CEO David Dinenberg stressed to The Guardian they “absolutely do not touch the plant”, his company does business with growers and distributors of marijuana, as well as the governments that regulate it. State law in twenty-five US states — but not US federal law — has legalized marijuana, whether medicinally or for recreational use. Kimberly Nelson, Microsoft executive director of state and local government solutions, said they expect significant demand for technology to help states make sure cannabis distribution within their state is done according to their laws.
Kind also provides kiosks similar to automated tellers (ATMs) to facilitate marijuana transactions in dispensaries. The distribution of marijuana is often done only with cash or through machines like the ones Kind offers since many banks in the United States shy away from the marijuana industry entirely. Microsoft is not interacting with this part of Kind’s operations, however.
Microsoft and Kind will apply for contracts with state governments for their software. Currently, they have applied to Puerto Rico, a US territory, where medical marijuana has recently been made legal. BioTrackTHC, a company similar to Kind Financial, already has contracts with Washington, New Mexico, and Illinois.
Dinenberg said his company’s partnership with Microsoft is a major step in advancing the legitimacy of cannabis-related businesses.