With 23 states (and counting) enacting legislation legalizing marijuana, we knew it would only be a matter of time before what used to be a black market became a mainstream business. Now, a few big brands are getting on board to start monetizing and regulating the legal sale of marijuana — namely, Microsoft.
The gargantuan tech company recently partnered with KIND Financial, a company that provides software and financial technology to encourage the legal cannabis industry to transact safely, securely, and remaining in compliance with ever-changing legislation. KIND’s services allow cannabis businesses to take their commerce from the black market to business — because without access to technology that allows business owners to track, regulate, and report their goods — they are stuck in limbo.
Think of KIND as Quickbooks for cannabis. With a cannabis business owner utilizing KIND’s services through Microsoft, every product from any plant — from seed to blunt to edible — can be traced.
“We act as the RFID tag [a type of electromagnetic label] on the product — we are the barcode,” explains Michael Stalbaum, SVP of Marketing and Operations at KIND. “We are helping to create a regulated industry in an industry that’s never existed before. Our services help to create inventory reports and point of sales for the businesses, and we act as the track and trace technology for the government.”
Just as the construction, prescription, and energy industries are regulated, so is the marijuana industry. In states where it is legal, it must be treated as any other sector of commerce. KIND’s services allow businesses that have had no prior oversight to legitimize themselves as part of a mainstream market that is accessible to everyone.
But they couldn’t do it without a bigger company to provide the platform for the tracking technology. That’s where Microsoft comes in. “We host our technology on the Microsoft AZURE platform,” Stalbaum explains. “It’s a symbiotic relationship — we have the technology and they have the platform to host it.”
Microsoft elected KIND to be part of a small community of businesses that works together with governments and marijuana businesses to create a stable track and trace market, and to hopefully put consumers' minds at ease. “It’s a fear of the unknown that makes people uneasy about the legalized marijuana market,” Stalbaum says. “But we are taking the unknown out of it.”