Supporters of medical marijuana in Massachusetts are complaining that patients are being denied access to the drug months after voters spoke on the issue.

Activist Mike Cann says patients have been waiting too long for relief.

"People are suffering from MS and cancer and back pain, daily back pain," Cann said. "People have died. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and people have died. And we’re waiting for this medicine. We passed the initiative. We won. It’s really unfair."

Cann and fewer than a dozen other protesters gathered outside the Department of Public Health offices. Some toted signs that said, "Patients Before Profits." Some wore shirts with a cannabis leaf printed on them.

For its part, the Department of Public Health says it will start making applications for dispensaries available this summer.

A spokesperson says the department has sought unprecedented public input in crafting regulations for medical marijuana.

Meantime, a growing number of communities have adopted temporary moratoriums on dispensaries. Palmer is the latest to do so. Attorney General Martha Coakley has ruled that towns cannot ban the facilities outright.

But a lawyer representing people interested in opening dispensaries says local officials can still make it difficult for his clients by using zoning laws.