As an ever-increasing number of US states – not to mention countries around the world – warm to the idea of allowing the legal sale of marijuana, the need to implement key technologies to track these sales and ensure they comply with regulations becomes increasingly pressing. To help fill this demand, Microsoft is set to make its first foray into the world of psychoactive drugs, teaming up with a start-up called KIND Financial to monitor the production and trade of legal cannabis in the US.
At present, the sale of marijuana for recreational use is legal in the states of Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, as well the District of Columbia. The distribution of the drug for medicinal purposes is also now permitted in a number of other states, as its active ingredient, THC, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain in order to dampen pain.
In order to make sure the substance is only sold by licensed outlets, and that the production of all marijuana products complies with safety and quality regulations, Microsoft has allowed KIND to run its “Seed to Sale” tracking service on the computer giant’s Azure Government cloud.
The service helps growers keep a register of the movement of their plants using barcode identifiers, while also monitoring customer identities at the point of sale, thanks to the use of ID cards and biometric technologies.
As part of this deal, KIND have recruited Matt D. Cook, who helped author Colorado’s historic medical marijuana laws, to act as “Special Advisor on Government Matters.”