As watershed industry moments go, this one could be defining, writes USA Today.

We thank Andrew Sacks of SWD (PA) for alerting us to this potentially huge development in the sector.

Microsoft is welcoming marijuana compliance company Kind Financial onto its Azure Government cloud platform, marking a legitimizing first for the legal cannabis business while positioning the technology giant at the vanguard of a potentially lucrative new industry.

Los Angeles-based Kind, which provides seed-to-sale tracking solutions, had been a commercial client of Microsoft’s Azure cloud since its 2014 debut. But after nearly nine months of talks with Microsoft officials, Kind CEO David Dinenberg got the word his company would be promoted to Azure Government, a separate cloud platform whose security and compliance protocols are geared toward entities that interact with federal agencies.

“Thanks to Microsoft’s huge reach, it’ll be easier for us to target every state with our compliance solutions,” says Dinenberg. “It’s a win-win for both of us as more states look to legalize medical marijuana.”

Kimberly Nelson, executive director of Microsoft’s state and local government solutions division, said in a statement that “Kind agreed that Azure Government is the only cloud platform designed to meet government standards for the closely regulated cannabis compliance programs and we look forward to working together to help our government customers launch successful regulatory programs.”

For Microsoft, welcoming a cannabis-focused data management company onto its specialized cloud points to the dynamic thinking coming out of the office of CEO Satya Nadella, who is two years into his plan to pivot away from a crumbling software licensing model and toward a cloud- and mobile-first business.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/06/17/microsoft-makes-bold-move-into-marijuana-biz/86034484/