Despite its illegality, most of the Australian population is exposed to cannabis use at some stage of our lives. There is so much media hype about this drug that it is difficult to tell accuracy from allegory, exactitude from exaggeration.

In this lecture, Professor Jenny Williams presents empirical findings about cannabis use, allowing the audience to gain evidence based insights into this topical subject. She covers its effects on a wide range of measurable outcomes, including educational attainment, mental health issues and suicidal thoughts. Jenny also discusses policy implications, basing her recommendations neither on popular misconceptions and fears, nor hidden agendas, as is often the case, but on verified economic research.

Jenny Williams received her Ph.D. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. She joined the University of Melbourne in 2003. She has also held appointments at the University of Adelaide and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her research interests lie broadly within the area of applied microeconomics with a focus on (risky) behaviour of youth. The common theme in her research is empirically investigating the ways in which decisions and circumstances faced in youth impact on success in later life. She has applied this perspective to study criminal choice, child health and substance use.

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