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, working in the area of home affairs and social policy. Her research interests include the study of illicit markets, cannabis regulation and drug policy. She is also the European lead for the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

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 (in 2018). In recent years, her research has focused on the Cannabis Social Club model in several jurisdictions, and she has edited a book on that topic (published by Routledge in 2022). In 2020–21, Pardal coordinated a research project about the nonmedical use of prescription drugs among young adults in Belgium. 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. Between 2012–2015, Pardal was an analyst at RAND Europe.

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).

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Research Foundation Flanders), Ghent University

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

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 (forthcoming)

Pardal, M., Tack, C., Bawin, F. "Media representation of Belgian youth protests: the making of 'climate truants'," in Weis, V. , Criminalization of Activism: Historical, Present and Future Perspectives, Routledge, 2021

Pardal, M., Bone, M., Decorte, T., Queirolo, R., Parés, Ò., Johansson, J., Álvarez, E., Repetto, L. , "Hidden and uninterested populations: methodological insights and unresolved issues from the study of Cannabis Social Clubs," Methodological Innovations, 2020


Portuguese; Spanish; Dutch


  • 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