This week, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced a partnership with KIND Financial, a California-based startup with ‘seed-to-sale’ tracking technology.
The news comes just a few days after Microsoft announced it would acquire LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) for $26 billion.
KIND bills itself as “the leader in technology for cannabis compliance,” and was chose to participate in Microsoft’s newly created Health and Human Services Pod for Managed Service Providers. The goal is to acquire contracts with governments and regulatory agencies to help regulate and monitor all aspects of cannabis compliance.
 

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The move is significant. As Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times points out, it makes Microsoft one of the first big companies to ‘break the corporate taboo on pot.’ While Microsoft is sticking with government compliance—staying away from banking and other services offered by KIND—it’s still dipping its toes into the water.
“Nobody has really come out of the closet, if you will,” Matthew A. Karnes, founder of Green Wave Advisors, told Popper. “It’s very telling that a company of this caliber is taking the risk of coming out and engaging with a company that is focused on the cannabis business.”
Certainly, compliance has been one of the biggest issues facing cannabis stocks. Chris Milenkevich started Gotham Cannabis Associates, a firm that specializes in due diligence on publicly traded cannabis companies, explained in a recent interview that many banks won’t work with marijuana companies in the US since pot still isn’t legal at the federal level. Even at the state level, recreational marijuana may be legal, but it is still heavily restricted, meaning that it’s easy for unwelcoming communities to find a reason to shut operations down.
What’s more, cannabis social media platform was MassRoots recently rejected for a Nasdaq listing, stating that it could aid in the use and dealing of an illegal substance. As per Reuters, MassRoots CEO Isaac Dietrich sees that decision setting up a precedent for others in the cannabis space.
Still, for KIND Financial Founder and CEO David Dinenberg, ensuring compliance with government regulations is key for moving forward.
“No one can predict the future of cannabis legalization, however, it is clear that legalized cannabis will always be subject to strict oversight and regulations similar to alcohol and tobacco; and, KIND is proud to offer governments and regulatory agencies the tools and technology to monitor cannabis compliance,” he said in a statement“I am delighted that Microsoft supports KIND’s mission to build the backbone for cannabis compliance.”
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Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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