Since 1996 when California legalized the use of medical cannabis, 24 other states passed laws to regulate the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Apart from this, there are four states that approved of the usage of recreational marijuana as well. Now there is a new big player in the cannabis industry: Microsoft.
Until this recent and surprising involvement of Microsoft in the marijuana business, no other corporation showed interest in this area.
However, it is requisite to note that the change is favored by some facts and numbers that may appeal to any serious investor.
As of now, five states will vote this year the legal regulation of recreational cannabis.
Moreover, in Colorado for example, where the recreational use of marijuana has been legal since 2012, the state managed to raise only last year around $135 in licensing fees and taxes. A large part of this amount was redistributed for departments such as law enforcement or education. It is important to know also that another part was invested in programs destined for the rehabilitation of people addicted to drugs.
Furthermore, the public discourse about marijuana is gradually improving. As per the Gallup`s survey, 58% of the participants would agree with full legalization of cannabis. With expectations of a rapid increase of the industry (some optimistic estimations say that it will evolve into a $22 billion industry by 2020), it is not surprising that there is a new big player in the game.
However, despite the details mentioned above, corporate America did not show any interest so far. Now that Microsoft, a new big player, has partnered with Kind, a small, Los-Angeles-based start-up, things may change. Before getting all excited about the news, it is important to note that Microsoft`s part in the industry will be a small one.
They are trying to help build and promote a new program that will assist governments and states to keep track of cannabis from “seed to sale”. The software is destined only for the 25 states that have already legalized the use of medical marijuana. The program will help institutions follow the track right from the begging and up until the end, from farmers to retailers. Even though Microsoft will be involved only in the government solution segment of the business, this gives an important signal to all corporate America.
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