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Unlikely Pair

Microsoft teams up with cannabis financial technology company

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Two of the state's greatest forces — Microsoft and marijuana — are teaming up in the name of cannabis compliance.

Microsoft and Los Angeles-based KIND Financial, which develops financial technology for processors/producers, dispensaries and regulatory agencies, are working together as part of the tech giant's Health and Human Services Pod for Managed Service Providers.

This pairing will combine both companies' expertise to create solutions for track and trace — or seed to sale, as it's known in the cannabis industry — technology, with KIND's Agrisoft Seed to Sale platform running through Microsoft's Azure Government Cloud.

"It is clear that legalized cannabis will always be subject to strict oversight and regulations similar to alcohol and tobacco," KIND Financial Founder & CEO David Dinenberg said in a press release. "KIND is proud to offer governments and regulatory agencies the tools and technology to monitor cannabis compliance. I am delighted that Microsoft supports KIND's mission to build the backbone for cannabis compliance."

The Agrisoft Seed to Sale platform, which allows users to track inventory, understand and comply with industry laws and regulations, and handle transactions, integrates with KIND Kiosk, an automated payment kiosk for cash management and order-taking, and KIND Pay, which will allow cash-free mobile payments and customer loyalty programs.

Microsoft's Azure Government Cloud is a government-community cloud designed to "support strategic government scenarios that require speed, scale, security, compliance and economics for U.S. government organizations," as per the Microsoft Azure website.

With many banks steering clear of the industry, businesses have had to accept only cash transactions or install kiosks like KIND's Kiosk with Agrisoft. This partnership adds even more legitimacy to the marijuana industry, which is becoming more and more accepted around the country.

Twenty-five states, most recently Pennsylvania and Ohio, have legalized marijuana in some form.

According to Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft, more regulation could lead to even more from the company's partnership with KIND in the future.

"We do think there will be significant growth," she told the New York Times. "As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road." ♦