Microsoft gets into the marijuana business
- By Derek Major
- Jun 17, 2016
Microsoft is bringing its cloud computing solutions to the growing market for government-regulated marijuana sales.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is teaming up with the tech startup Kind Financial’s government solutions division to provide state and local governments with a cloud-based service to "track and trace" cannabis through the entire growth, distribution and sales process.
According to a June 16 announcement, the Kind service is called Agrisoft Seed to Sale for Government, and will be offered on Microsoft's Azure Government platform.
Though 25 states have legalized marijuana sales in some form, many large companies have been reluctant to get into the business. That has limited the solutions available to states seeking to implement track and trace systems, and complicated efforts to comply with government regulations for medical privacy and information security. In the announcement, Microsoft Executive Director State and Local Government Solutions Kimberly Nelson, said, "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."
Other solutions are available, however. New York state has worked with Oracle to track marijuana patients, as part of a program mandated by that state's Compassionate Care Act of 2014. Oregon and Maine are among the states now tracking plants from seed-to-sale online, and Alaska -- which has struggled with regulation in the past -- recently signed a contract for its seed-to-sale tracking.
Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.