Fortunately, more cities are honoring the will of the people than not. So far, most municipalities that have considered the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries have agreed to permit them.

The pieces are coming together for seriously ill Floridians interested in seeking relief from medical marijuana. Across the state, 25 treatment centers are open. Hundreds of doctors are authorized to certify patients for medical marijuana use. And thousands of patients – suffering from conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease or a similarly debilitating condition – have signed up for the state registry that allows the compassionate use of cannabis.

But there are still troubling gaps in the system, and stubborn resistance from those who don’t understand the issue, or have decided not to respect the wishes of the voters who approved medical marijuana use by a 70 percent margin.

Fortunately, more cities are honoring the will of the people than not. So far, most municipalities that have considered the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries have agreed to permit them.

Those cities have done the right thing. The image of marijuana dispensaries as 1970s-era head shops has been beaten back by reality: Modern treatment centers look more like high-end retail locations, and the patients – many of them obviously ill – sometimes arrive in wheelchairs, or have cannabis products delivered to their homes. Dispensaries aren’t proving to be any threat to the peace and safety of the commercial districts where most are located.

That hasn’t stopped several local jurisdictions from issuing bans. Officials have expressed uneasiness with the way the Legislature undermined local control: Under state law, cities that allow dispensaries must provide for them in any zoning category where pharmacies are currently allowed – the only other option is a flat-out ban. Some cities have taken a crafty approach – recognizing that existing pharmacies are already “grandfathered in,” they simply restricted areas where new pharmacies would be allowed to locate. And they should strip their deliberations of speculation about the recreational use of cannabis. Florida’s constitutional amendment and laws are narrowly drawn to limit marijuana use to people with legitimate medical conditions.

In the meantime, lawmakers should draft legislation that gives cities more options when zoning locations for medical-marijuana dispensaries. And they should do away with the foolish ban on consuming cannabis products by smoking them. That would likely shut down a pending lawsuit that accuses the state of thwarting the will of voters by drafting the implementing law too narrowly.

It’s not hard to see why some local elected officials (many of whom were raised in the 1960s) have qualms about marijuana. But their decades-old impressions of recreational pot use shouldn’t color the modern, voter-approved and science-based use of a medication that has proven beneficial to many people suffering from painful, debilitating and sometimes fatal illnesses. On this issue, the people have spoken, and their will should be honored.

This guest editorial was originally published in the Daytona Beach News Journal, a sister newspaper of the Daily News within Gatehouse Media. Guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News. E-mail letters to the editor in response to this editorial to news@nwfdailynews.com.