Massachusetts legalization group taps former assistant AG

A group attempting to legalize recreational cannabis in Massachusetts has hired a former assistant state attorney general to lead its campaign, giving the initiative some much-needed credibility and clout.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts announced Wednesday that Will Luzier will spearhead the organization’s push for a 2016 legalization ballot initiative.

Luzier previously served as assistant attorney general in Massachusetts and chief of staff for a state senator. Most recently, he was the executive director of the state’s Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention Council.

The legalization group also announced that it has brought on Jim Borghesani – who worked in the governor’s office and for the Suffolk County district attorney – as communications director for the campaign.

Luzier and Borghesani will encounter some stiff opposition, as Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has said she is against full legalization. Gov. Charlie Baker, who was elected in November, also said he would “vigorously” oppose recreational cannabis in the state.

The group will also likely have to compete against another effort to legalize recreational marijuana by a campaign called Bay State Repeal, which is looking to place a proposal on the 2016 ballot as well.

Support for cannabis in general is strong among locals, and polls show that legalization could indeed pass – though it might come down to the wire.