Microsoft Entered The Cannabis Industry. Now What Is Google Going To Do?
Every business in the cannabis industry is clamouring for legitimacy. Whether you like tech giants or not, Microsoft’s move into the cannabis information technology market is a nice step towards legalization. Cannabis brands and companies have always been obscured by Facebook, Google, Apple and major tech companies. Despite legalization at state level, many U.S. banks used to deny or shut down accounts when they use company names like “Greensomething” or “Cannasometingelse”. Microsoft entrance in the cannabusiness might change the game a little. Let’s see what are they doing and why.
ONLINE SERVICES FOR A HUGE MARKEPLACE
Microsoft is partnering up with Los Angeles start-up Kind Financial in order to develop and market a "seed to sale" software solution for central and local administrations. Applications and data will reside on the Microsoft “Azure” cloud platform and will allow people to track and regulate the entire cannabis supply chain, from seed to growth, right up to delivery to patients. This is the first time such an important corporation, with its brand, PR exposure and marketing power has announced a partnership with a company in the cannabis industry.
Twenty-five American states plus Canada have somehow legalized cannabis possession. A huge business opportunity comes from states allowing non-medical use, such as Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. The next recreational cannabis approval ballot in California will represent a big financial and psychological success for the cannabis industry. California market is huge and they love cannabis.
WHAT PROBLEM IS MICROSOFT TRYING TO SOLVE?
Information technology companies like Kind Financial developed ATM (Bancomat) kiosks with software systems able to take payments from clients inside dispensaries and pump digital money into some local banks willing to accept cannabusiness money. Those kiosks remove a big issue for companies who were forced to work with big amounts of cash hidden in weird places or protected with armed guards. Then there is the regulations issue.
No one can exactly predict the future of cannabis legalization, even if it’s obvious it will always be under strict regulations, similar to alcohol and tobacco. For better or worse, there will be something that enables regulators to check in real time where and how much cannabis is grown, stored or sold. Police inspectors will be allowed to verify if a company is actually doing what the software system is showing up.
The seed to sale tracking software might seem a bit of a Big Brother thing. This is probably an unavoidable compromise to ease the fears of close-minded people and their politicians. A tracking system is also important in order to guarantee patients a consistent medicine quality, with no contaminations or wrong dosage risks. Without a well regulated oversight on the cannabis supply chain, lawmakers in the States, and in a short time in Europe, would not have the courage and skills required to open the cannabis marketplace. Of course personal domestic cultivation shouldn’t fall into this regulatory affair.
Until this Microsoft agreement, governments and cannabis companies used to ask small start-ups to develop hardware and software systems to track production and sales process. Microsoft’s partnership with Kind Finacial opens the way for other future promising software houses in the cannabusiness to work under a big Azure cloud. But what is Microsoft Azure and why Microsoft is so kind as to offer the cannabis industry its support?
AN AZURE SMOKY CLOUD
The Azure cloud platform is a key component to Microsoft’s future growth, together and beyond the Windows operating system. This is a successful service, but it wasn’t able to offset Microsoft’s overall revenues decline. A little boost to the specialized Microsoft’s Azure Government cloud system will then come from helping to establish a regulated cannabis industry. The specific service is named Microsoft Health and Human Services Pod for Managed Service Providers, and it’s simply the data and application platform where Kind Financial and others will develop their next online services for the cannabis industry, regulators and patients.
There’s more. The simple fact that Kind Financial's Agrisoft software solution will be installed on the Microsoft Azure Government cloud, already adopted by many central and local governments, automatically puts Kind Financial in first line to grab future public contracts on medical and recreational cannabis. Plus, Microsoft has a strong lobbying power and strict relationships with states, regions and municipalities, and not just in North America. For sure they also have a lot of sales knowledge to pass to Kind Financial’s people and to the next companies coming under the Microsoft smoky cloud.
Until the date of this agreement, most big tech companies have been shy to get involved in the cannabusiness. Now what do you think Google is going to do with an American cannabis market expected to be worth just $ 6.5 billion by the end of 2016 but growing by 30% per year, and its first competitor in the cloud market already joined the party?
MICROSOFT WON’T BE ALONE HITTING THE BONG
Google and other IT corporations can, and actually do offer the same Microsoft Azure online services. New partnership for the sake of the cannabusiness are likely, for example with the software company BioTrackTHC, who boosted their revenue by 75% last year by helping Washington State, New Mexico and Illinois monitor their legal cannabis trade. Or maybe with MJ Freeway, already offering business accounting and tracking services for cannabis companies. Who knows?
What we know is Microsoft's entrance into the cannabis business will facilitate relations with authorities in the states that are now leading the experiments in legalization and commercialization. This might also change bank's and government's attitudes about collaborating with this industry. On the other side, now we know who will be helping the next cannabis big brothers in doing their jobs.
Written by: Guest Writer
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