Microsoft is already a part of the legal cannabis business, and there are rumors that Google might make a similar move. So, who is next to join the controversial marijuana business and is there any chance for one of the recreational marijuana states to become the Silicon Valley of cannabis?
As long as marijuana remains prohibited on the federal level, big corporations and financial institutions prefer to stay away from it. At least, this is how the things were before Microsoft announced its partnership with KIND Financial, a software startup that works openly with marijuana companies. Together, Microsoft and KIND Financial will work on developing a brand-new tracking system for the state governments to track local marijuana “from seed to sale.”
KIND Financial will create one of the eight pieces of preferred online software for Microsoft's Azure Government service. In order to let people know more about their new products, Microsoft plans to show KIND's software at various conferences for government employees. There is also a possibility for Microsoft to join KIND Financial at some of the cannabis-related events.
Despite making such a huge step towards working with marijuana businesses, Microsoft watches its every move and stays away from any activities that may cause the corporation problems with the law. As for now, helping marijuana-related businesses maintain compliance with the local medical and/or recreational marijuana laws and policies is the only safe and legal way for a corporate America giant like Microsoft to join the cannabis industry. And after Microsoft made this step, even more promising announcements followed from other corporate giants.
A few weeks after Microsoft made its statement about the upcoming partnership with KIND, another corporate giant, Arrow, announced that it is going to team up with MyDx, a San-Diego-based maker of handheld chemical analyzers. MyDx develops gadgets that help marijuana consumers check the potency of marijuana strains. Arrow will help MyDx improve and manufacture their analyzers.
One more big company that is not afraid to say aloud about its partnership with marijuana-related businesses is Oracle Corporation. In New York, Oracle helps local government track medical marijuana patients.
But the biggest and the most surprising news of the last week was the rumor about Google considering the possibility of a partnership with the Colorado-based cannabis retailer LivWell Enlightened Health. According to LivWell's CEO John Lord, people from Google contacted him recently and asked if there is any way the two companies can work together to serve the marijuana industry.
Google, however, did not deny or confirm its willingness to join the growing number of big companies and corporations that are ready to work openly with marijuana-related businesses.
It took 20 years for a corporate America company to make a step towards the cannabis industry since the first state in the U.S. legalized medical weed. The biggest problem any company or corporation will face once it decides to dive into the cannabis market is the controversial legacy of the plant within the States.
To the date, half of the United States has legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and five states have legalized recreational marijuana as well. Moreover, five more states, including California, are going to decide whether they want to legalize weed for recreational use or not on the upcoming November ballot.
But the fact that half of the country wants to see marijuana legal in some form does not change the reality that on the federal level, the plant and all the marijuana-related businesses remain outside the law. There is an obvious contradiction between the federal and local marijuana laws. Despite being legalized or at least decriminalized in some states, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug. Among other things, it means that selling weed is a federal crime, even if it is legal within the borders of a certain state. This is why most banks, financial institutions, and big corporations do not want to be involved with any marijuana-related businesses.
And since the biggest business opportunities come from the states where marijuana is legalized for recreational use, the only chance for other corporate America companies to join the cannabis market it the nationwide legalization of recreational cannabis.