Mafalda Pardal

Mafalda Pardal
Research Leader and European lead for the RAND Drug Policy Research Center
Brussels Office


Ph.D. in criminology, Ghent University, Belgium; M.Sc. in criminology, KU Leuven, Belgium; B.A. in law, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact RAND Europe Media Relations at +44 (1223) 353 329, x2560, or email

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Mafalda Pardal is a research leader at RAND Europe and the European lead for the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. Her research interests revolve around the analysis of illicit markets and drug policy. 

Prior to (re-)joining RAND, she was affiliated with Ghent University (Belgium) as assistant professor in criminology and postdoctoral research fellow. She has also been a visiting researcher at the Catholic University of Uruguay. Pardal was previously an analyst at RAND Europe.

In recent years, her research has focused on models of cannabis regulation (including Cannabis Social Clubs) and analyses of impacts of cannabis policies on various outcomes; the nonmedical use of prescription drugs among young populations; the environmental harms of illegal synthetic drug production; policies aimed at preventing and disrupting organised crime; drug-related corruption; and other illicit market dynamics. 

Her research has been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, the European Journal of Criminology, the Journal of Drug Issues, in Methodological Innovations, among others. Pardal edited a book about Cannabis Social Clubs, published by Routledge. 

Pardal holds a Ph.D. in criminology from Ghent University (Belgium), a M.Sc. in criminology from KU Leuven (Belgium), and a B.A. in law from the University of Coimbra (Portugal).

Recent Projects

  • Analysis of non-profit models of cannabis regulation
  • New insights into the medical use of cannabis
  • Evaluating the closed coffeeshop chain cannabis experiment in the Netherlands
  • Preventative approaches to organised crime in the Netherlands
  • Examining corruption at two of Europe's gateways

Selected Publications

Pardal, M. (Ed.), The Cannabis Social Club, Routledge, 2022

Pardal, Mafalda, Beau Kilmer, Sara d'Auria, Tamara Strabel, Silvia Galimberti, Stijn Hoorens, Tom Decorte, and Ben Senator, Alternatives to profit-maximising commercial models of cannabis supply for non-medical use, RAND Corporation (RR-A2190-1), 2023

Pardal, M., Colman, C., Surmont, T., "Synthetic drug production in Belgium - environmental harms as collateral damage?" Journal of Illicit Economies and Development, 2021

Mennes, Ralph, Stijn Hoorens, Margriet van Laar, Karin Monshouwer, Marleen Olthof, Pieter Oomen, Mafalda Pardal, Sander Rigter, Ruud Roodbeen, Irene Schoonbeek, and Ben Senator, Onderzoek Experiment Gesloten Coffeeshopketen: Rapportage voormeting 2021: [Study in support of the Controlled Cannabis Supply Chain Experiment: Pre-measurement report 2021], RAND Corporation (RR-A2735-1), 2023

Pardal, Mafalda, Lana Eekelschot, Stijn Hoorens, and Emma Louise Blondes, Inzichten in de effectiviteit van preventieve instrumenten in de strijd tegen georganiseerde criminaliteit: [Insights into the effectiveness of preventive instruments tackling organised crime], RAND Corporation (RR-A2303-1), 2023

Pardal, M., Decorte, T., Bone, M., Parés, Ò., Johansson, J., "Mapping Cannabis Social Clubs in Europe," European Journal of Criminology, 2020

Bawin, F., Emplit, K., Tieberghien, J., Vandenbogaerde, E., Pardal, M., Guillain, C., Decorte, T. , Young adults using prescription drugs nonmedically, Gompel & Svacina, 2021


Portuguese; Spanish; Dutch

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Die Zeit; De Tijd


  • Drug Markets and Supply

    Cannabis Legalization in Europe: Planning Ahead

    Since 2012, multiple jurisdictions have changed their laws to legalize the production, possession, and use of cannabis for nonmedical purposes. While most of these changes took place in the Americas, there are signs that the European legal landscape might be changing, too.

    Nov 9, 2022

    The RAND Blog

  • Cannabis

    Are We Entering a New Era of Cannabis Regulation?

    Although international drug treaties prohibit the production, distribution, and possession of cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific purposes, several jurisdictions have implemented new laws and policies, including some that remove criminal penalties for possession of small doses of cannabis.

    May 22, 2014

    The BMJ