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Microsoft is Working On Software For The Legal Marijuana Industry (theverge.com) 87

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Microsoft has announced today that it will partner with Los Angeles-based startup Kind on a system for tracking the legal growing and sale of marijuana. Microsoft will work with the startup on software services for governments tracking legal weed, with Microsoft powering the software through its Azure cloud computing service. "The goal of this relationship is to leverage each company's resources to provide State, County, and Municipalities with purpose built solutions for track and trace ('seed to sale' in the cannabis industry) technology," Kind said in a statement. As reported in The New York Times, this is a pretty significant venture for a corporation publicly journeying into the controversial industry. Growing and selling marijuana is still illegal under the federal government.
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Microsoft is Working On Software For The Legal Marijuana Industry

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  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday June 16, 2016 @03:43PM (#52331593)

    Waiting for the Blue Smoke of Death.

    • It's all smoke and mirrors. Say. What's that in the mirror? Looks like... heh... heh heh... say, what's that in the sink? Oooooo. Huh. Water never sounded like that before. That is SO Awesome. Where's my Pink Floyd CD? I need to get some Fritos, too. Yah, talk to you later.

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday June 16, 2016 @03:45PM (#52331609)
    Will the banks stop doing business with Microsoft for fear of being accused of money laundering for the drug lords?
    • by Threni ( 635302 )

      No, because there's no connection between Microsoft, drug lords or money laundering in this case.

      • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday June 16, 2016 @04:12PM (#52331767)

        No, because there's no connection between Microsoft, drug lords or money laundering in this case.

        Most banks won't handle financial transactions with pot dispensaries. If Microsoft gets involved with this market segment, the banks may not deal with them either. It's the appearance of money laundering, not any actual crime of money laundering.

        Nearly all of the nation's banks refuse to take money from marijuana sales or offer basic checking or credit card services to the industry for fear they'll be shut down by federal authorities, for whom marijuana remains an illegal narcotic. The banks won't do business with growers, processors, retail shops and medical dispensaries, nor with their employees and contractors.

        http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/1/5/states-find-you-cant-take-legal-marijuana-money-to-the-bank [pewtrusts.org]

        • Interesting hypothesis.

          What would keep MS from creating their own bank or buying a bank?

          • What would keep MS from creating their own bank or buying a bank?

            Financial regulations. When I worked at eBay/PayPal prior to the Great Recession, the company had a split personality because PayPal was technically a bank as far as government regulators were concern. That required some mental gymnastics to keep various parts of PayPal separated from eBay. That's probably why eBay and PayPal split up into separate companies. Depending on how much money Microsoft throws into a bank, they may get classified as too large to fail. That's why GE sold off its financial arm to Go

            • The USA still has a lot of privately held small local banks. Often still owned by a single extended family. I did a year at one. (Moron married to a niece sank it. Couldn't keep a loan origination pipeline hedged, his only job, quarter mil/year in early 90s. No fun at work, great ratio...I digress.)

              Anybody with about 20 million and a non-felon to put up as president can own a bank. There is paperwork of course, don't try to own a bank if you don't like paperwork.

              Paypal is not a bank by US law, is one b

          • The Colorado legislature incorporated a state credit union for handling the growing volume of all cash pot transaction (nearly a billion according state strict monitoring laws). The regional Federal Reserve Bank refused membership of this bank and participation in final clearing services. Without Fed clearing services you cannot transfer money, cash checks or credit. The credit union lost a lawsuit earlier this year to reverse the Feds decision.
        • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Thursday June 16, 2016 @04:27PM (#52331853) Homepage

          Banks refuse to take money from pot dispensaries - none of the money from those dispensaries are using payment services from those banks. Pot dispensaries and banks already use Microsoft operating systems and loads of other Microsoft software. There are plenty of pre-existing 2 degrees of separation of cash flow here for this development to present scenario where banks have any fear of being shut down for being tied to the sale of narcotics. No bank is going to go, "Uhoh, we'd better change swaths of our IT infrastructure now because maybe the money pot dispensaries make is spent on Microsoft services, with whom we then do business with." Nor is the federal government going to try and shut down a bank for dealing with Microsoft. If they have any issue with Microsoft's participation in this market, they'd go after Microsoft first.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Banks refusing to do business with Micro$oft???

          How can you type that with a straight face?

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday June 16, 2016 @04:19PM (#52331815)

        The situation is likely to get better for pot merchants after the election in November. He won't win, but Bernie supports legalization. Hillary, as always, waffles and says we should "wait and see", but it is unlikely she will toughen policy especially if the political winds are blowing the other way. Donald has expressed support for full legalization of ALL drugs, but that was a while ago, so who knows what he supports this week. But he is unlikely to roll back state level legalization efforts. All the drug authoritarians (Cruz, Christie, etc.), that want to go back to full retard on the drug war, got wiped out in the primaries. Good riddance.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          It's hard to gauge with Hillary. She backs the authority structure and big money, so pharma, alcohol and law enforcement will likely pressure her into at least not furthering the legalization trend. Plus, she's from the I-inhaled-in-college-only generation and possibly even opposes it personally.

          That being said, she'll face popular opinion -- and pressure from the minorities she's pandered to in the election to quit jailing them over pot use. Plus it's hard to see eliminating it in the states where it's

    • I was wondering if the marijuana businesses could get around this banking issue by overpaying their taxes in cash and then getting a check for the refund. The bank isn't going to refuse to open an account for a business that is depositing government checks is it?

      This has the added benefit of making the government the money launderer.
      • This has the added benefit of making the government the money launderer.

        The IRS would simply seize the refund as ill-gotten gains of a Federally illegal "crime".

        The solution is the get with the reality that most Americans want legal weed, and in any case, classifying it Schedule 1 drug is simply absurd no matter how you feel about legalization.

    • Will the banks stop doing business with Microsoft for fear of being accused of money laundering for the drug lords?

      No, because Obama told the Feds to back-off [washingtonpost.com] on that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You have to be high to depend on Microsoft products.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Thursday June 16, 2016 @03:48PM (#52331625)

    What are the smoking to come with this idea?

    1. Smoke Weed,
    2. Azure Cloud
    3. Chilled out clients
    4. Profit!

    Burma Shave!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now your favorite 3-letter agency will have a new tool to find out who uses pot.
    • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

      I'm sure it will run safe and sound in the Azure Cloud where the federal government won't require a warrant to demand the data since it's being held by a third party.

  • Yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Thursday June 16, 2016 @04:15PM (#52331787)

    With the $26 billion Linkedin buyout, it's certainly obvious that Microsoft has a lot of expertise in the cannabis industry.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday June 16, 2016 @04:15PM (#52331789) Homepage Journal

    The software already exists - it's called an INVENTORY/LOGISTICS SYSTEM. Any basic fucking warehouse has one.

    Oh, but this time, WEED IS INVOLVED! That's worth a patent, right?

    Give me a fucking break.

    • by tsqr ( 808554 )

      Yeah, I came here to say something similar, then I saw your post. Is there something (aside from the legal issues) that make marijuana a unique product?

      • Yeah, I came here to say something similar, then I saw your post. Is there something (aside from the legal issues) that make marijuana a unique product?

        Nope. It is the same as growing and selling any cash crop, as far as production, inventory, logistics and bookkeeping go.

    • The software already exists - it's called an INVENTORY/LOGISTICS SYSTEM. Any basic fucking warehouse has one.

      Oh, but this time, WEED IS INVOLVED! That's worth a patent, right?

      Give me a fucking break.

      You underestimate how much work is involved in redoing all the UI with a psychedelic slow motion background and postfixing all the dialog box texts with ", man."

    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      Come on, Khyber! Call this "TempDog"! After all, that's all it takes [slashdot.org]!

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Son, do you not remember who the owner of #foxie was on FurNet?

        Quit doing drugs you burnout dope-fiend.

        • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

          Son, do you not remember who the owner of #foxie was on FurNet?

          Yeah, I do.

          Anyway, give your "TempDog" a call, that's all it takes after all. I don't know why you're wasting time, just make the call.

    • So you're claiming that a wealth of products already exist "to provide State, County, and Municipalities with purpose built solutions for track and trace ('seed to sale' in the cannabis industry) "?

      Or perhaps you misread the article. This isn't about software for the cannibis grower, this is software for the cops basically. This is also where Microsoft in general is gearing products for. Government and businesses.

      I tried googling track and trace software and I didn't see anything except software for the gro

  • by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Thursday June 16, 2016 @04:16PM (#52331795)
    So the government can come in with one swoop and get them all.
    • last entry on the last is little bobby tables.

      (wow, our sql query sure runs fast, today. did you do an optimize or something?)

  • Kind? As in the granola bar company? Suddenly I wonder about those hemp seed & chia bars...

    • 'kind' is slang.

      kind veggie burrito is a phrase often heard, back in the day, in the parking lot scene at dead shows.

      people in the scene know what 'kind' means. often, the phrase is 'kind bud'.

  • MS e-snitch or apple-isis friend?

    MS is likely to just hand the info over to the fed's. But apple may be un willing to help out the feds even in cases of known terrorists. Now just think if that Orlando shooter had an locked iphone and apple after the Apple CEO's tearful Orlando tribute said we will not help.

    Just think of what trump would of done with that.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Thursday June 16, 2016 @05:08PM (#52332103)
    There is even a tech startup incubator called Boulder Canopy managing at least eight startups. I attended part of cannabis track at Boulder Startup Week in May. Numerous mom and pop startups buy from a mushrooming service industry (pun intended). The big divide is whether you directly handle leaf or not (farm, process, retail). The industry is shunned by the established financial and computer industry out of fear of seizure laws. Pages are quickly shutdown on conventional social media. So a shadow computer services industry is supplying social, cloud storage etc. yes, people saidtheir cloud apps were banned by all the conventional cloud companies as soon as their nature was discovered.
  • aint none (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Thursday June 16, 2016 @05:15PM (#52332131)
    There is no legal marijuana industry in this country. Just a president who refuses to uphold our laws like he pledged to when he took office. And there is no assurance that the next president will not enforce those laws, and use all of those nice public records to help do it.
    • Medical marijuana was legal in 13 states during the Bush administration, but I'm sure you pointed out what a scofflaw he was too.
    • Feds don't have the budget and states are refusing to pay a penny.

      When the feds try to make an example, they can't find juries to convict.

      Give it up. It's over. Simple demographics.

      The really amazing thing is watching the Korean war generation when it is legalized. Many take to it like ducks to water. Starts out a little toke for the pain, next thing you know, they've replaced a few of the tomatoes and have weed in their pancakes. Really good weed.

      • The really amazing thing is watching the Korean war generation when it is legalized. Many take to it like ducks to water. Starts out a little toke for the pain, next thing you know, they've replaced a few of the tomatoes and have weed in their pancakes. Really good weed.

        I'll second that. Seen it. Edibles, cooking oils & tinctures, anyways.

    • To which President are you referring? More federal raids of state-legal marijuana businesses were carried out under Obama than were under Bush. If anything, the fault with Obama is not doing anything about the DEA and friends ignoring guidelines about it.
    • Makes me wonder what implications this has for gun control. The Democrats are working hard to recreate the failed assault weapons ban, what if they are successful and a handful of states pass opposing laws? Will AR-15 rifles be legal in Colorado but not Wyoming?

      I think the federal government set themselves up for failure by not legalizing marijuana a decade ago. Now we have a precedent of federal law getting overruled by state law. If the federal government wants to claim that federal law is supreme the

  • Hi I'm 'roach clippy', I see you are trying to manage your weed, I can help you with that.

  • Lol, like I would trust MS with this information if I was a grower.

    DEA: Who's growing pot that we can harass?
    Microsoft: Click this button for a state-by-state report.

  • Microsoft BOB will become Microsoft DUDE.
    Project will become 4:20
    One Note will become RollingPapers

    • are only the leaves legal or is hash ok too?

      I'm picturing clippy with burning bit of hash on his end, just like Cheech and Chong used to sniff it.

      hash clippy: "like hey man, what's the problem, man?"

      user types in question

      hash clippy "oh wow like that's some really heavy shit man"

  • Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Washington. Although it's still against federal law to even be in possession of the drug. So technically this could pave a way for the federal government's civil forfeiture of some of MS assets.
  • They're going to run it on Azure? What are they smoking?

  • Windows 420
  • Oh, cool! That must mean they're working on some groovy new WMP visualizations!

  • Am I the only one scratching their head over this one? Free software, the hippy movement... and so on, I mean this is it! Why isn't it out there already? Seems that by now they should have it all integrated together so you know how much to water, weed, feed, harvest... all that stuff should be out there. All you have to do is add land and do the work.

  • This explains why MS products are so buggy! The staff has been indulging!
  • Microsoft product managers have been heavily smoking weed when working on Zune and Windows Mobile. With Windows 10 they have pretty much been stoned from developer preview days till now. They have now found their true passion and I am sure Microsoft Bong will be a way more successful product than Microsoft Bob. Why, the whole company name signifies what happens to some men when they overindulgence.

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