With new Azure service, Microsoft becomes first big tech company to chase pot market

With new Azure service, Microsoft becomes first big tech company to chase pot market

Early pioneers in the growing legal marijuana business have run into a number of challenges, including basics such as payment processing. Larger technology companies, wary that federal law still prohibits weed sale, have largely stayed completely away from what could be an extremely large market. Until now: Microsoft has announced an Azure partnership that dips its toes into the growing pot market, though firmly on the side of the law.

Microsoft has partnered with Los Angeles startup Kind, making it a "preferred software" vendor among the company's options for government customers.

“We do think there will be significant growth,” Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft, 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.”

For now, Microsoft is staying far away from the weed selling, instead partner to offer compliance management software for government agencies in state's where marijuana is legal. But the "“seed to sale" management tools are a sign that big business' conservatism around the issue might be falling to the side as the market continues to grow — along with the business opportunities.

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