NJBAC selects cannabis advocate to launch workforce development program

Kimberly Redmond//January 6, 2023//

NJBAC selects cannabis advocate to launch workforce development program

Kimberly Redmond//January 6, 2023//

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The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) selected a well-known cannabis advocate and Jersey City-based attorney to help develop and launch its new workforce development program for the state’s emerging recreational cannabis industry.

In a Jan. 3 press release, NJBAC announced the appointment of Jessica Gonzalez and her firm, Veridis Quo LLC, to serve as a consultant that will build a no-cost cannabis technical assistance program.

Announced in October, the Cannabis Training Academy will be a 10-week program aimed at helping potential entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds learn more about the cannabis business.

The offering, which will be run by the NJBAC, is slated to include business plan development, as well as a legacy to legal course. It will have an accelerator track to take conditional license applicants through the initial application process, along with a separate track to guide applicants through the conversion to annual licenses.

According to NJBAC, Gonzalez and her team will provide foundational start-up support and then be replaced by a permanent executive director later this year.

Jessica Gonzalez

Gonzalez, who has been at the forefront of New Jersey’s campaign to legalize recreational cannabis, has successfully guided entrepreneurs through the application process. She has also served in leadership positions in organizations such as the International Cannabis Bar Association, Minorities for Medical Marijuana and the Minority Cannabis Bar Association’s policy committee.

In addition to being a cannabis champion, Gonzalez is an advocate working on behalf of marginalized groups, helping them to enter the highly competitive industry, according to the NJBAC.

In a statement, NJBAC Executive Director Melanie Willoughby said, “We’re excited to take the next step to make New Jersey’s Cannabis Training Academy a reality for applicants in the social equity, legacy, Impact Zone, diverse-owned and microbusiness categories. Jessica’s experience as an attorney, educator and advocate is a tremendous advantage to get this no-cost technical assistance off the ground as quickly as possible.”

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