Jessica F. Gonzalez
Company: Hiller PC
At 29 years old, attorney Jessica F. Gonzalez saw her hard work memorialized in the language of New Jersey’s first adult-use cannabis statute and regulations, and in the ordinance passed in Jersey City, her childhood home and where she currently lives.
“It’s incredible that a young Latina immigrant who grew up in the inner city could influence a state, a regulatory body and a municipal body, with the help of my community of course,” she says.
Gonzalez was a first-year attorney focused on intellectual property in the entertainment industry when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy pledged to legalize recreational cannabis within his first 100 days in office.
Immediately, she began educating herself and transitioning from “an eager audience member to a stage panelist,” she says.
Gonzalez never forgot her roots as an immigrant from Ecuador in a low-income community and fought for equitable policies to help Black, Latino and indigenous communities take on vital roles in the burgeoning cannabis industry.
“I am proud to say that I contributed heavily to New Jersey’s cannabis policy to ensure that equity and justice-centric provisions are included in policy,” she says.
Gonzalez now plans to expand her efforts into education by teaching cannabis-related courses at Hudson County Community College, where her mother attended, and at Rowan University in 2023.
“My hope is to one day be able to teach in Spanish to ensure that Latino communities are kept abreast of all the amazing opportunities in this industry and feel represented in an industry that has historically excluded them,” she says.