Tomorrow is a day that many people in SouthCoast have been waiting to see ... for a long, long time.

BASK, the region’s first medical marijuana dispensary, located inside a one-story industrial building at 2 Pequod Road in Fairhaven, will officially open its doors — some five years, three months, one week and two days after Massachusetts voters chose to legalize medical marijuana.

On that Election Day back in 2012, President Barack Obama won his second term in the White House, topping Republican challenger Mitt Romney. And a relatively unknown Democrat, Elizabeth Warren, ousted populist Republican Sen. Scott Brown.

So it has been a while.

Now, roughly 15 months after the 2016 election, when voters said yes to recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, communities like New Bedford are asking for more time. And the requests seem reasonable enough.

While medical marijuana proposals move forward, Mayor Jon Mitchell pressed the City Council to delay approval of recreational marijuana establishments until Sept. 30, unless the city comes up with a comprehensive zoning ordinance before then. Eight councilors agreed, so it’s likely to win final approval.

Mitchell explained that once the state’s Cannabis Control Commission issues its regulations for recreational marijuana on March 15, companies interested in opening retail operations could begin applying two weeks later on April 1. And they would do so under the state’s control, but in line with each community’s existing zoning laws.

So if there are no zoning restrictions in place for marijuana sales before April 1, the businesses could locate almost anywhere that retail is allowed. Negotiating complex zoning issues before March 15 is not an option, Mitchell said, because planners can’t make specific rules until they’ve seen the commission’s policy.

“There’s very little time to come up with reasonable regulations to govern where retail establishments ought to be permitted to go,” the mayor said in a phone call Tuesday afternoon.

New Bedford is not alone:

• On Monday night, Mattapoisett Town Meeting voted 102-4, to approve moratoriums on recreational marijuana businesses and medical marijuana dispensaries. Town Administrator Michael Gagne said a committee will now be formed to iron out legal planning and public safety issues before submitting a bylaw to September Town Meeting.

• Marion is also looking for a delay until the end of this year, allowing time for the town to draft a bylaw for Town Meeting. In 2016, voters in Marion favored legalizing recreational marijuana, so in addition to Town Meeting, it has to be approved in a special election.

• Freetown will hold a special election on marijuana next month, and there are moratorium measures in various stages for Acushnet, Fairhaven, Wareham, Westport and roughly 100 other Bay State communities.

Complicating things further, the state’s district attorneys have asked regulators to delay licensing cannabis cafes and other business that would allow marijuana to be used on the premises. The problem: authorities still have no definitive test to determine whether drivers leaving such establishments could be operating under the influence of cannabis.

This week, Gov. Charlie Baker and Public Safety Secretary Dan Bennet echoed those concerns.

Naturally, those who led efforts to legalize recreational marijuana are crying foul.

“There is still hysteria and hyperbole surrounding cannabis,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project in Massachusetts.

Borghesani noted that California voters approved recreational marijuana in the same 2016 election, and residents have been purchasing legal marijuana since the start of 2018.

He said attempts to delay the measure by Massachusetts cities or towns or law enforcement is a matter of “not following through on the will of the people,” who approved recreational marijuana by a clear 7.4 percent margin.

The Standard-Times sees both sides of this complex and contentious issue, and we are forced to pick a spot somewhere in the middle.

We don’t want local communities to feel forced into hastily approving measures that could come back to haunt them. But we also don’t want recreational marijuana to follow the same protracted route as medical marijuana. (After more than five years, there are still only about 20 facilities in operation around the state).

The people of Massachusetts have spoken on the issue of recreational marijuana. And we urge communities get their zoning issues settled promptly so that the will of voters can be fulfilled.