Historic, unprecedented vote illustrates political strength, legitimacy of medical marijuana community
By KRIS HERMES | December 4, 2013
Robert Jacob is the first mayor to also own a dispensary. (Photo credit: Bohemian/Nicolas Grizzle)
In an unprecedented move, the Sebastopol City Council voted yesterday to seat Vice Mayor and medical marijuana community leader Robert Jacob as Mayor of Sebastopol.
Jacob, 36, founder and executive director of Peace in Medicine, two licensed medical marijuana dispensaries — one in Sebastopol, the other in Santa Rosa — was Vice Mayor for his first year before becoming mayor.
After opening Peace in Medicine in 2007, Jacob began serving on the Sebastopol Planning Commission in 2011, then successfully ran for city council in 2012.
“My life has been about service,” said Mayor Robert Jacob. “By addressing social problems such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and access to medical cannabis, we can shape a better world for ourselves,” continued Jacob. “As mayor, I will work to facilitate even greater changes to public policy, from affordable housing and safe routes to schools to supporting real immigration reform. There is so much we can and must do to improve our communities by working at the local level.”
In addition to his work as an elected official, an entrepreneur, and a community organizer, Jacob has worked hard to establish statewide dispensary regulations in California, as well as helping officials establish local regulatory ordinances in cities such as Napa, Sacramento, San Jose, and Stockton.
Jacob serves on the city’s Business Outreach and Legislative Committees, the Chamber of Commerce, and the League of California Cities, among other official posts, and was recently named in the “Top 40 Under Forty” list by the North Bay Business Journal for his leadership and business acumen.
Medical marijuana advocates point to Jacob’s ascension to mayor as an example of how the medical marijuana community is being led by everyday people who want to be and are a vocal part of the political process. Jacob continues to support the election of patient advocates as local and state policymakers in order to promote broader medical marijuana policy reform.
“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 with Americans for Safe Access, the country’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group. “Although medical marijuana enjoys the support of 80 percent of Americans, Jacob’s election as mayor of Sebastopol brings additional legitimacy to the patient community.”