Microsoft announced Thursday a partnership with KIND Financial, a California-based technology startup that sells computer systems to help governments track legalized marijuana sales.
The Washington-based tech giant has selected KIND to participate in its newly formed Microsoft Health and Human Services Pod for Managed Service Providers. With this partnership, KIND will be able to work on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
“KIND's strategic industry positioning, experienced team and top-notch-technology running in the Microsoft Azure Government cloud, made for an easy decision to align efforts,” Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft, said in a press release. “KIND agreed that 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.”
KIND is licensed to sell Microsoft’s Azure cloud services to authorities to monitor sales. KIND, which started in 2013, will fish for government pot compliance contracts by pitching Microsoft's cloud service and the Microsoft government sales team will work with KIND on the bidding for these contracts.
KIND’s CEO David Dinenberg reportedly said, “We go after the contract and we are able to use the Microsoft sales team. They use their political connections. We use ours.”
KIND and Microsoft have already bid on a contract in Puerto Rico where medical use of cannabis is allowed, he added.
Microsoft is the first major technology company in the United States to break the corporate taboo on marijuana, which has been legalized in Washington.
At least four states will vote this fall following Washington, Oregon and Colorado in allowing recreational use of cannabis. The drug is available for sale under certain circumstances in about 25 states so far with a prescription or license from a doctor.