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Microsoft to help bring marijuana business to the cloud

The software giant has partnered with Kind Financial to offer cloud-computing software for state and local governments that helps keep tabs on marijuana sales.

Screenshot by CNET

Microsoft has just gingerly stepped into the business of marijuana. You read that right. As first reported by The New York Times, the software giant has teamed up with Kind Financial to deliver "seed to sale" software that tracks sales of marijuana.

Microsoft will limit its role in marketing software that Kind builds, as part of its cloud-computing business, and help state and local governments build compliance systems to keep tabs on sales of marijuana, where legal, to make sure they remain within the legal framework.

Kind is a Los Angeles startup whose products include payment kiosks for marijuana dispensaries. "We are proud to announce the launch of KIND Government Solutions with Microsoft Targeting Government Contracts for seed to sale tracking at the state and local level," the company said Thursday on its Facebook page. "It's a great day for #KINDFinancial and the #Cannabis Industry!"

It's an interesting move for Microsoft, which rose to prominence decades ago with its operating system for personal computers.

"We support government customers and partners to help them meet their missions," Microsoft said in a statement. "Kind Financial is building solutions on our government cloud to help these agencies regulate and monitor controlled substances and items, and manage compliance with jurisdictional laws and regulations."