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Jessica Gonzalez and her family emigrated from the highlands of Ecuador to Jersey City when she was 3. By the time she graduated high school, she had moved eight times in neighborhoods marred by gang-related crime and mired in poverty.

So it was with great purpose and effort — working two jobs while she went to school — Gonzalez pursued a career as a lawyer. She saw it as a means of providing the financial security she craved and arming herself with knowledge of how to protect herself, Gonzalez said.

“I wanted to become an attorney because growing up, I felt a sense of insecurity and I didn’t have the tools to defend myself in a world that’s constantly changing,” said Gonzalez, 29, who was the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college, Boston University, and the first to complete graduate school, Suffolk University Law School in Boston.

“When I looked at the law, it pervades every area of a person’s life,” she said. “Having a good understanding of the law would always help me.”

Since passing the bar in 2016, Gonzalez has worked in three law firms, including one she co-founded. Currently employed by Bressler, Amery & Ross, she has developed a specialty in intellectual property law fashioned around the burgeoning cannabis industry.

Click here to read the full story on This article is part of a series of profiles, The CannaInfluencers: The people shaping the cannabis industry in the Garden State.

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