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Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle
The North Bay town of Sebastopol made history this week when the City Council picked a marijuana activist as mayor.
Robert Jacob is the founder and executive director of Peace in Medicine, which operates two licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. He is believed to be the first dispensary operator to be the top elected official of any city.
Jacob began serving on the Planning Commission in the city of 7,500 people in 2011, then was elected to City Council in 2012. He was vice mayor before getting the top job Tuesday.
Jacob, 36, has worked to create statewide dispensary regulations as well as help craft local rules in Napa, Sacramento, San Jose and Stockton. He manages 40 full-time employees who serve 16,000 patients at his dispensaries.
"My life has been about service," Jacob said in a statement. "By addressing social problems such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS and access to medical cannabis, we can shape a better world for ourselves."
Medical marijuana advocates are thrilled, seeing Jacob's mayoralty as another step on the road to greater public acceptance.
"This historic, unprecedented vote in Sebastopol illustrates that the medical marijuana community has political strength and the influence to elect advocates to public office," said Don Duncan, California director of Americans for Safe Access, the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group.
"Although medical marijuana enjoys the support of 80 percent of Americans," Duncan said, "Jacob's election as mayor of Sebastopol brings additional legitimacy to the patient community."