From Michael Dundas, president and chief executive of Sage Cannabis, Feb. 17, 2017: In 2012, nearly 80 percent of Cambridge residents voted to allow access to medical marijuana for people with debilitating medical conditions. Now, more than four years later, Sage Cannabis is about to open Cambridge’s first registered marijuana dispensary at 1001 Massachusetts Ave., Mid-Cambridge. Starting in late February, Sage will begin pre-registering a select group of patients from around the area to be among the first patients to visit the dispensary. There are no restrictions on who may preregister, apart from the fact that you must be a medical marijuana patient with a valid registration card from the state Department of Public Health. Please check our website for more details.

At Sage we believe in helping people feel better. In March, we will open up for everyone and finally fulfill the promise of providing the highest-quality medical marijuana to the patients of Cambridge who need it. We plan to serve patients citywide, as well as a number of patients from the surrounding communities.

If you are still on the fence about medical marijuana, ask around. As I said in a letter to Cambridge Day last year, it is very likely that someone in your network of friends and family has tried marijuana as medicine. Whether it be for any of the nine conditions in the Massachusetts medical marijuana law – cancer, glaucoma, positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, hepatitis C, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis – or for other conditions such as anxiety, sleeplessness, post-traumatic stress disorder and neuropathic pain, a growing number of people have reported that medical marijuana has helped them feel better.

The medical marijuana program here in Massachusetts had a tough time getting off the ground. It has taken organizations such as Sage much longer than expected to win the necessary approvals required by the medical marijuana regulations. Those regulations are comprehensive for good reason: marijuana as a medicine is a relatively new phenomenon in the commonwealth, and a legacy of stigmatization has led to widespread misunderstanding about the benefits of this multifaceted plant. Under these circumstances, comprehensive regulation is appropriate, even if it means we need to take a little longer to get it right. At Sage, we believe we got it right, and we are excited to share it with our Cambridge community.

As Sage’s president and chief executive, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the people of Cambridge, your elected officials and all of the neighborhood groups who helped to make this moment possible. Sage is grateful for the privilege to serve patients in such a diverse and unique city, and we welcome local feedback. If you have comments, questions, or just want to learn more about cannabis as a medicine, I encourage you to visit our website and get in touch.

I can be reached at [email protected].