2018 NDRI Annual Symposium

AOD Research, Policy and Practice

Thursday 22nd November 2018, 8.30am – 5.00pm
RACV City Club, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000

The National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) invites you to attend the 2018 NDRI Annual Symposium: Alcohol and Other Drug Research, Policy and Practice, this year taking place in Melbourne for the first time.

Program Highlights

Leading NDRI researchers will showcase their latest innovative research, including:

Commercial versus non-commercial models of cannabis regulation
Professor Tom Decorte, Institute for Social Drug Research, Belgium

When prohibition is rejected, a fundamental question is "who should be granted the right to produce and distribute cannabis?" Legalisation is often falsely framed as being a binary choice between prohibition and some regulated commercial model (such as alcohol). Moving directly from prohibition to commercial legalisation is an irreversible leap from one extreme to another, bypassing safer “in-between” forms of legalisation, including nonprofit models. If we want to undercut the black market without promoting greater problem use, a commercial market with profit-driven companies definitely has more disadvantages compared to a market with not-for-profit corporations, or a co-op or "cannabis club" model.

Professor Tom Decorte is Director of the Institute for Social Drug Research at Ghent University in Belgium and is an international expert on cannabis regulation. Tom has published numerous articles on substance use, cannabis markets, and local drug monitoring systems, and has recently written a book on Regulating cannabis: A detailed scenario for a non-profit cannabis market.

Cannabis regulation: Profit versus public health

Attitudes towards cannabis are changing across the globe, and in recent years a number of regulated legal markets for adult ’recreational’ use have been introduced. Much of the focus has been on fully commercialised, profit driven models of cannabis regulation, akin to alcohol and tobacco markets, as implemented in a number of US states, beginning with Colorado in 2014. However, a number of non-commercial, ‘middle ground’ cannabis regulation options that put health before profit also exist, some of which have been implemented in several European countries and Uruguay.

This panel discussion aims to contribute to the Australian conversation about cannabis policy by: describing where Australia is at with regards to cannabis law reform and public debate; presenting some of the challenges and consequences of commercial models of cannabis regulation; and exploring some of the non-commercial, middle ground options - including ‘cannabis social clubs' - which have, to date, received little attention in this country.

The panel will bring together experts from Australia and overseas to lay out some of the issues and provide a platform for an engaging and stimulating discussion where audience questions and commentary will be welcomed. Come along and contribute to the debate!


Who Should Attend

This event will bring together people working in the alcohol and other drug sector; professionals working to address alcohol and other drug-related harm in other sectors such as health, education, research, law enforcement and corrections; policy makers; consumers; and anyone else involved or interested in preventing and reducing alcohol and other drug related harm.


Registration for this event has now closed.

For any queries please email ndri@curtin.edu.au.