A giant, azure cloud of marijuana is in Microsoft's future. The tech titan today announced a partnership with KIND Financial, which will use Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform to offer cannabis tracking software to local law enforcement agencies.
KIND currently sells software to marijuana growers and sellers that helps them stay in compliance with the law in states that have legalized the plant. It's now adapting its tracking expertise for government clients using a standalone version of Azure adapted to comply with government policies.
Cannabis is currently legal for recreational use in three states—Washington, Oregon, and Colorado—and allowed for medical purposes in 19 others. The myriad local regulations and jurisdictions have strict reporting requirements for those who grow and sell the drug.
KIND has tapped Matt Cook, a former narcotics officer who also served as a top official at Colorado's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, as its special advisor for the new project. Cook helped write Colorado's pot enforcement laws, and is one of a handful of regulators who have left their government posts to join the private sector amid some controversy.
For Microsoft, adding marijuana tracking to its Azure cloud offerings was a no-brainer.
"KIND's strategic industry positioning, experienced team and top-notch-technology running in the Microsoft Azure Government cloud made for an easy decision to align efforts," the company's director of state and local government solutions Kimberly Nelson said in a statement.
In addition to regulatory compliance monitoring, Azure also powers many other consumer services, including Office 365, Skype, and OneDrive. It also stands to benefit from Microsoft's purchase of LinkedIn, announced earlier this week, which could see business social networking capabilities added to the service.