The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has hired Dot Joyce, who was a close adviser to former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, to serve as its temporary spokeswoman.
Joyce will handle media requests for the nascent agency, formed in September and charged with oversight of the forthcoming recreational marijuana industry, until it hires a permanent communications director early next year. Her contract, worth $15,000, ends Jan. 8.
“It’s exciting,” Joyce said. “I spent many years making sure we communicated well with the people of Boston, and I’m hoping to do the same for the CCC as this new industry gets up and running.”
Joyce is well-known to the press from her seven-year-plus tenure as Menino’s chief communications officer, which lasted until the end of his fifth and final term as mayor in January 2014. She remained a member of Menino’s inner circle until his death in October 2014 and has since functioned as a kind of unofficial representative of his legacy.
After leaving City Hall, Joyce launched a communications consultancy and took on a variety of clients — including medical marijuana groups. In that role, she has been outspoken in supporting patients’ right to access to the drug.
Joyce said she has stopped representing Compassionate Organics, a nonprofit currently seeking permission to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Newbury Street in Boston. The group includes several other Menino-era figures: Elizabeth Reilinger, former chairwoman of the Boston School Committee, and former Boston Police Department superintendent-in-chief Daniel Linskey. Former city councilor Mike Ross is Compassionate Organics’ attorney.
Steve Hoffman, the chairman and interim executive director of the cannabis commission, said Joyce’s firm offered the lowest price of the six communications companies he asked to submit proposals. But Hoffman explained that he mostly picked Joyce because of her City Hall experience and willingness to take on various work within the tiny agency.
Hoffman said the cannabis commission so far has been reacting to incoming media inquiries but not proactively communicating a message and said Joyce could help it to do so.
“The message to the public is, we’re going to get this done, we’re going to do it right, we’re going to meet our deadlines, and we’re going to make this a model industry and agency for other states,” Hoffman said.Dan Adams can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Adams86.