How Microsoft is Helping With Cannabis Compliance

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Kind Financial is a Los Angles-based startup that provides compliance and accountability infrastructure for businesses, and Microsoft has partnered with the firm to provide cloud infrastructure for the startup’s operations.

More than Microsoft’s Cloud, it’s the company’s clout that could push the Startup toward legitimate success, and improve consumer access to information.

Is there anything strange about that sentence? How is it news that Microsoft is providing cloud infrastructure to yet another Startup?

What seems to be noteworthy about the partnership between Kind Financial and Microsoft is exactly what Bill Gates isn’t focusing on: the fact that Kind Financial serves weed-related businesses.

Greenback Dollars

The US is adopting a greener mindset, and we don’t mean with regard to clean energy.

Today, 20 US states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana for medical use only, and an additional four states along with the Nation’s Capital have legalized weed for both recreational and medical purposes.

As evidenced by the steady wave of new state-level policies on cannabis, the general mentality toward the plant is changing in the US.

Praise around these new regulations has focused on promising projected revenue in the form of sales tax compared to the expense of the War on Drugs, but marijuana regulations are also helping to stimulate local state economies by creating new businesses and jobs.

“Kind
Financial was founded precisely to solve one of the biggest problems facing the legal Cannabis industry: lack of financial services.”

New regulations have created new businesses in the form of authorized legal dispensaries and vendors, those new businesses have a need for centralized and reliable accountability measures to adequately comply with the new regulations.

You are the Company you Keep

Despite new regulations that legitimize marijuana as a legal medication or commodity, new legal marijuana businesses have found it difficult to partner with more established or multi-national companies. Some traditional banks and credit card companies tend to be wary of providing financial services to marijuana business for fear of infringing the law, attracting federal investigations, and possible fines.

Federally (and in the other half of the country on the state level), Marijuana is still considered a Schedule I substance, illegal and a target of the War on Drugs. The general mentality toward weed in the US has certainly changed, but it’s safe to say the mentality is still changing.

Greenbacks were the first paper currency notes printed by the US government during the 1860's to raise money for the Union's war effort.
“Greenbacks” were the first paper currency notes printed by the US government during the 1860’s to raise money for the Union’s war effort | Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Enter Kind Financial.

The company was founded precisely to solve one of the biggest problems facing legal marijuana business: lack of financial and compliance services.

The Startup has created an accountability platform that compiles regulatory requirements and provides clients with the resources that they need to comply with the law. Basically, the company makes it easier and more efficient for legal cannabis businesses to operate within the (changing) law.

Kind Buds

Enter Microsoft.

The bellwether tech giant is clearly one of most prolific multi-nationals in the world, and Bill Gates is arguably one of the most respected entrepreneurs on the planet. For an established brand like Microsoft and a name like Bill Gates to partner with (and, essentially invest in) a marijuana-related platform has the potential to further legitimize how professionals, lawmakers, and everyday citizens view Marijuana.

“This is exactly the mentality that could help change the popular view on marijuana from illegal drug to legitimate product.”

Beyond Bill Gates putting his weight behind weed, what’s even more profound about this partnership is that he doesn’t seem to see it that way.

For Microsoft, Kind Financial is just another business in need of cloud infrastructure, and this is exactly this mentality that could help change the popular view on marijuana from illegal drug to legitimate product.

Decriminalizing the Access to (Product) Information

Aside from any ethical, political or personal views one has about Prohibition and similar policies, it is clear that at least some people will engage in certain behaviors no matter what- whether legal or illegal. Criminalizing a product often means criminalizing the access to information about the product, making product information unreliable, limited or non-existent.

Now, beyond illustrating a changing mentality toward weed and an industry response, Microsoft and Kind Financial’s partnership reflects an effort to streamline and facilitate the access to information about a product generally, so that consumers can make informed decisions about the products that they buy, and so that vendors can operate smoothly within the law.

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