Jessica F. Gonzalez is an attorney with Rudick Law Group, an adjunct professor at New Jersey’s Rowan University and Hudson County Community College, and the founder of educational / cannabis consulting firm Veridis Quo. An Ecuadorian immigrant and one of the East Coast’s most impactful advocates, she has dedicated her career to uplifting communities harmed by cannabis prohibition.

What Has Jessica Gonzalez Achieved In Cannabis?

The young leader has helped shape cannabis policy on statutory, regulatory, and municipal levels in New Jersey and advised on social equity efforts in seven different states. Gonzalez made history in 2021 as the first cannabis industry presenter at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, educating federal trademark examiners on the burgeoning space. Most recently, her Veridis Quo was selected as the inaugural consultant to develop and launch New Jersey’s Cannabis Training Academy.

Named as one of High Times’ 100 Most Influential People, a New Jersey State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Rising Star, New Jersey Cannabis Insider’s “Community Game Changer of the Year,” a 40 Under 40 in both Cannabis Now and Marijuana Venture, and many other accolades, Jessica Gonzalez is absolutely a cannabis superheroine. 

Jessica F. Gonzalez of Rudick Law Group. Courtesy of Jessica F. Gonzalez @jessfgonzalez.

Jessica Gonzalez On Advocacy, Family, And Being A Woman In Cannabis

HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: What inspired you to get into the cannabis industry? 

JESSICA GONZALEZ: I’ve been a cannabis consumer since I was 17 years old, so it’s been an incredible part of my life for many years. As a first-year attorney in 2017, I was disheartened with the legal work I was doing, and it just happened to be the year NJ’s governor was running on a campaign to legalize cannabis… It was necessary for me to figure out a way to create a career that I was proud of and a sustainable life for myself. I knew that would only be possible if I loved what I did. My love for cannabis led me here. 

As an advocate and a teacher, you often tell people to think about their family history with prohibition. What does that mean to you?

My advocacy began at the dinner table. Family is the perfect audience because they won’t go easy on you. You get to hear the concerns, the misinformation, the prejudices, their version of history, and all the falsities they were taught to believe about cannabis. Listening to their thoughts teaches you what you need to teach them and others. I am a firm believer that if you can convince your family to change their minds about cannabis, you can convince anyone. 

What do you think people don’t understand about being a cannabis attorney?

Think of attorneys as a combination of preventative care and a defensive line. Attorneys are expensive, but having a well-established attorney-client relationship allows you to build your company on solid legal footing and will save you dollars and heartache in the long run. Not all cannabis attorneys are built the same way. Do your due diligence [and] find an attorney whose intention, experience and vibe best speak to you and your business goals. 

What do you see as the main differences between New York and New Jersey's emerging cannabis markets? What they can they learn from one another?

The [Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act] provided [New York's Office of Cannabis Management] with great flexibility and discretion, while NJ’s CREAMM [Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act] seemed to have stifle the NJ [Cannabis Regulatory Commission's] ability to be creative in their regulatory makings. I’m a proponent that cannabis agencies should be given the space to rule-make with greater freedoms to allow them to evolve regulations as the industry evolves. 

Additionally, NY agencies have launched extensive educational and technical assistance campaigns to inform the public of opportunities in the cannabis industry.  It’s been beautiful to see because we haven’t seen as much state or municipal sponsored assistance as much I’d like to have seen. Historically, most of the cannabis education/assistance has come from private entities. I hope NJ takes notes of the education and training NY is offering and emulates similar models. 

What is your hope for the future of New York's cannabis industry? 

I hope to see [New Yorkers] really lean into their food, event and hospitality dominance. NY has shown it can and is willing to be creative to meet their goals. NY has a beautiful opportunity to assist in normalizing the plant and lowering barriers to entry by creating a system for restaurants and events to encompass cannabis without complex licensing schemes.

Courtesy of Jessica F. Gonzalez @jessfgonzalez.

How do you like to consume cannabis? 

Joints specifically rolled by my partner and chocolate edibles. 

What’s your favorite strain? Favorite products to smoke? 

Lemon Cherry Gelato. 

What’s the worst thing about being a woman in cannabis? 

Since the rooms are still male-dominated, women must be intentional about seeking each other out. It requires more effort and time unless you’re at women-centric events which are always rich with lovely connections. 

What’s the best thing about being a woman in cannabis?

Learning from other inspiring women. I’ve never felt as supported by women as I have in the cannabis industry. It was women who inspired me to get involved in cannabis and it’s women who have helped sustain my motivation to continue working in cannabis. 

For more about Jessica Gonzalez and Rudick Law Group, visit and follow @jessfgonzalez on Instagram.

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Jessica Gonzalez

Rudick Law Group

Veridis Quo

Rowan University

Hudson County Community College

The New Jersey Cannabis Training Academy


Featured image: Jessica F. Gonzalez of Rudick Law Group. Courtesy of Jessica F. Gonzalez @jessfgonzalez.