Until now, the biggest corporate names in the United States have been very cautious and careful in keeping away from the budding marijuana industry…no pun intended. Given the fact that in a federal sense marijuana is still illegal in North America, companies haven’t exactly been fighting to become the first to throw their hat into the ring.
Or at least that was the case until now, with none other than Microsoft having announced its intention to become the first big name corporation to move into marijuana. In specific, the software giant will be offering a platform for the marijuana industry that tracks cannabis plants from seed right through to the moment the actual cannabis is sold.
Unsurprisingly, the cloud based software solution is to be aimed primarily at those looking to keep a watch over marijuana cultivation, commerce and distribution in general for legal reasons, as opposed to those looking to boost their business. It has been designed for use in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana use have been legalised – along with those intending to bring about a change in legislation in the near future.
Even though it isn’t exactly the most thrilling or controversial move into the marijuana industry, it is nonetheless notable being the very first to come about from such a large and influential brand.
To date, any notion of becoming part of the growing marijuana seen in the United States has been viewed as somewhat taboo by industry leaders in a variety of sectors. Larger banks and financial institutions in particular have made it clear that they have no intention to work with those who grow and sell cannabis – even if they are doing so in 100% accordance with relevant state law. Likewise, Microsoft clearly doesn’t intend to begin supporting and assisting cannabis cultivators anytime soon, but instead is looking to bolster the infrastructure that will keep the industry law abiding and productive.
“We do think there will be significant growth,” said Kimberly Nelson, executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft.
“As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road.”
It’s a classic example of one extremely tiny step having enormously significant ramifications with regard to the bigger picture. Microsoft teamed up with a software company from Los Angeles called Kind for the project and intends to begin marketing its new software solution in the near future. Kind has become a relatively well-known name on the commercial cannabis distribution scene, having devised and developed among other things ATM-style automated marijuana sales systems.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has made it clear that it has no intention of getting in any way involved with such kiosks, or indeed the cultivation or sale of marijuana in general. Instead, they are entirely about intelligent software solutions for use by government offices, who are right now frantically involved in developing effective and workable compliance systems.
According to Green Wave Advisors founder Matthew A. Karnes, the significance of Microsoft’s decision is not to be underestimated.
“Nobody has really come out of the closet, if you will,” he said.
“It’s very telling that a company of this calibre is taking the risk of coming out and engaging with a company that is focused on the cannabis business.”
What Microsoft has successfully managed to do is to make an historic foray into the world of cannabis distribution, without in any way making a statement with regard to its support or otherwise for what’s happening in America right now. Which no matter which way you look at it is a pretty genius move to say the least!