Microsoft has supported the marijuana market

Published on June 16, 2016

Microsoft has supported the marijuana market

    The first major corporation dared to break the unspoken taboos. Is the ice breaking?

    US states legalize marijuana one by one. In 25 states, cannabis is permitted in one form or another, and in three states - Colorado, Oregon and Washington - smoking ganja is legalized for recreational purposes, which is of commercial interest for hundreds of companies that immediately entered the market.

    In the fall of 2016, a referendum on the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes will be held in vast California ( 39 million inhabitants) and four more states. And when the people of California make a positive decision, and almost no one doubts this, then cannabis sales can grow from the current $ 6.5 billion to $ 25 billion in a few years. Even before the legalization of marijuana, millions of Americans gained experience in its use (among them the current and past US presidents), so experts predict huge prospects for this market.

    At the same time, large corporations are so far cautious and try to stay away. To the surprise of many, Microsoft was the first among the big IT players to break the taboo. She partnered with Kind Financial , a small Los Angeles-based marijuana startup. In particular, Kind is developing tools that help document management and comply with a myriad of government regulations and requirements for the sale of marijuana. Agrisoft Seed to Sale

    platform runs a drug dealer businessa marijuana farmer from start to finish: from buying seeds and growing a product to delivering pre-packaged goods to a retail chain and calculating profits. For example, Kind Financial produces special terminals, similar to ATMs, for receiving money and issuing receipts for marijuana.

    Kind Financial Terminal

    Microsoft has promised to promote its new partner, recommending it, including for government contracts, writes the NY Times. Government contracts, of course, are not related to the purchase of marijuana for state needs, it hasn’t come to that yet, but to the development of specialized software and cloud services, company accounting and marijuana turnover: the Agrisoft Seed to Sale for Government platform is for this purpose.

    An entire industry of young startups is rapidly forming in the American market. They serve farmers who grow marijuana, automate the work of shops selling grass. Despite the enormous commercial prospects, this industry remains somewhat aloof from the “traditional” business. For example, only a few small banks agree to open accounts for companies that grow cannabis and sell marijuana.

    But as the market begins to regulate the state and big reputable players like Microsoft come here, the situation can move forward. In this sense, Microsoft could be a pioneer that will pull others along.

    “Like any business that operates in the marijuana market, we all strive for legitimacy. I would like to think that this is the first fallen domino tile, and many others will follow it, ” said the founder and CEO of Kind Financial, David Dinenberg , in whose office a hefty cannabis bush grows, welcomed the decision by Microsoft .

    Kind Financial will now be one of Microsoft Health and Human Services - a cage of service providers, the services of which government organizations can use through the Azure Government Cloud.

    Of course, Microsoft will have a very distant relationship with the marijuana growing and selling business, but even such indirect support means a lot to the industry.

    In general, the legalization of marijuana has several advantages, from the point of view of supporters of legalization. Drug users get cheaper, better and safer goods (instead of dangerous spice, which traders replace the prohibited “weed”), the state receives tax revenues, reduces the cost of combating drug trafficking and maintaining prisons (previously, millions of people were thrown into prisons for receiving not very dangerous drugs, while those remaining at large, like Steve Jobs , took them secretly).

    In addition, crime is reduced as drug traffickers lose their source of funding. Legalization is extremely disadvantageous for drug dealers.

    There is another effect: as the study showed in 2002-2013 , as the weed was legalized, its use gradually decreased among adolescents. Apparently, it’s “not cool” for teenagers to get bored and buy legalized marijuana in the store that their parents smoke (although the sale of marijuana in the store is still forbidden for teenagers, as well as selling tobacco).

    Interestingly, Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates, who even refused to take drugs even in his youth, was now not aware of the partnership deal with Kind and learned about it from reporters. Although Bill Gates did not admit to taking soft drugs, in 2014 he personally voted to legalize marijuana in his home state of Washington. “This is just an experiment. Probably, before legalizing marijuana at the state level, it’s worth checking on a couple of states, ”he said then.

    Microsoft itself is now considering participating in specialized marijuana conferences. “This is a completely new area for us,” saysKimberly Nelson, Executive Director of Solutions for Government and Local Government at Microsoft. “We have to determine which conference can be the largest in this area.”

    Microsoft shares today, by the way, rose 1.5% . But the site of Kind fell immediately after the publication of a press release on cooperation with Microsoft. Lies still. Probably could not stand the influx of visitors.