Microsoft just became the first major corporation to throw its hat into the ring as a participant in the legal cannabis industry. The global technology leader has partnered with KIND Financial, a cannabis tech industry leader, to launch a service facilitating state governments tracking of marijuana from seed to sale.
KIND offers a software system called Agrisoft, which collects and monitors data required for compliance with state rules and laws. Microsoft will market Agrisoft to state agencies for use through its Azure cloud service. KIND currently has no state contracts, but the company hopes this deal will help win one being evaluated by Puerto Rico.
“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; and, KIND is proud to offer governments and regulatory agencies the tools and technology to monitor cannabis compliance,” said KIND Financial Founder and CEO David Dinenberg, “I am delighted that Microsoft supports KIND’s mission to build the backbone for cannabis compliance.”
Twenty-five states have legalized medical marijuana, but each has a unique set of rules and regulations making compliance especially challenging. Five states will vote on legalizing recreational use of marijuana in November’s elections, and there is a great deal of speculation that the Drug Enforcement Administration could soon look to reschedule marijuana’s drug classification.
Current trends project the market opening even further, and one startup, BioTrackTHC, has already established itself as the industry inventory tracking and logistics leader. The Florida-based firm’s software is deployed by both marijuana growers and dispensaries, and by states and cities seeking to control the legal marijuana trade. It has already won contracts from five states — Washington, New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii, and New York — as well as several cities. Another firm, Metrc, has government contracts in Alaska and Oregon.
BioTrackTHC’s system allows governments to enforce rules about how much one firm can produce and sell, and also helps track products for safety reasons, including the ability to recall edibles that prove to be safety risks.
“We stand alone as the only seed-to-sale tracking company in cannabis that has provided to both businesses and government agencies,” says BioTrackTHC’s CEO, Patrick Vo. “BioTrackTHC’s core function is inventory tracking, inventory management and point of sales, but by having that you can create new applications that the user can leverage to generate revenues.”