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Microsoft Just Entered the Cannabis Game

Jun 17, 2016 07:32PM ● Published by Randy Robinson

On June 16, Microsoft offered its cloud computing services to America's fastest growing industry: legal, regulated cannabis. The deal partners Microsoft with KIND Financial, a regulatory consulting firm that assists federal and state governments. 

Although Microsoft won't be growing any Windows-themed strains themselves, their massive data analytics for the legal marijuana market is a big deal. From a regulatory standpoint, digital tracking systems ensure the product's movements are recorded from seed-to-sale, which helps to cut down on black market distribution. From a business end, analytics give companies a better idea of what's selling and why, and how to best execute future business strategies. Currently, the US market for legal herb nearly hit the $7 billion mark, and that number may double if California legalizes recreational sales this November.

The announcement marks a milestone in the cannabis industry. Microsoft is, as of right now, the largest publicly traded company to directly insert itself into the marijuana market. Prior to this announcement, Oracle stood as the most prominent corporate ally of our favorite plant. 

Microsoft's decision to lend its cloud services to cannabis companies coincides with its purchase of the careers social networking site LinkedIn, valued at $26 billion, making it one of the most expensive tech mergers in history.
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