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Drug Reform Symposium: Leadership in Psychoactive Industry

Global Drug Reform Symposium Acknowledges Leadership in Psychoactive Industry

The STAR Trust is delighted to announce the recipients of its annual Shining Star Awards. The Shining Star Awards recognise leadership and excellence within the newly established and strictly regulated psychoactive products industry. These winners will be formally announced and presented on March 20th 2014 at PATHWAY TO REFORM; New Zealand’s inaugural international drug policy reform symposium at The Nathan Club in Auckland’s CBD.

The awards are presented in three categories: Advocate of The Year, Researcher of The Year and Retailer of The Year.

Advocate of the Year
Drug policy reform has been called the “policy issue of our time”, by The Global Commission on Drug Policy. To advocate for evidence based policy reform requires tenacity, passion and faith to navigate the many prohibitionist obstacles to social reform.

The Shining Star Award Advocate of the Year has:
• A proven history of continuous action to advance and improve the progression of drug policy reform based on scientific evidence;
• Visible engagement with key stakeholders and the public.

The 2014 Shining Star ‘Advocate Of The Year’ is Chris Fowlie. New Zealand’s“pot geek”, Mr Fowlie has been the President of the non-profit National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML NZ) from 1996-2008 and again since 2013.

He is an independent expert witness for cannabis charges, has been consulted by government agencies, testified before parliamentary committees, and regularly communicates with and consults researchers, physicians and some of the world’s foremost authorities on cannabis law reform, whilst also running a help-line for people charged with cannabis offences.

Researcher of the Year
If researchers were allowed to study the effects of psychoactive drugs, they could make advances in the study of consciousness and brain mechanisms of psychosis, potentially leading to new life saving treatments.

The Researcher Of The Year award recognises:
• The efforts and commitment of the researcher who is advancing knowledge in their area of research
• A distinguished example of applied research that has or is expected to have an impact on health policy and decision-making
• Work that shows current relevance to contemporary drug issues
• Inspires and promotes continued excellence amongst industry peers

This year’s recipient is Dr. Geoff Noller.

Geoff Noller is an independent researcher focusing on substance use and drug policy analysis. A medical anthropologist, he graduated with a PhD from the University of Otago's Department of Psychological Medicine in 2008. The subject of his thesis was cannabis use in New Zealand.

He has since established a research consultancy - Substance Use and Policy Analysis (SUPA) - specialising in psychotropic drug research. His work involves contracting to universities, government departments, NGOs and the private sector, as well as undertaking independent research projects.

Retailer of the Year
The Psychoactive Industry Training Association (PITA) award for Retailer of The Year acknowledges a member that:
• Operates above and beyond the standards required by law
• Embraces all components of the Code of Conduct and integrates them into daily business transactions
• Excels in customer care, harm reduction and ethical retailing
• Nurtures staff development

This year’s award goes to Cosmic Corner.

Cosmic Corner is a Kiwi icon for fun, freedom and creativity. They support alternative choices and challenging the status quo. Established in 1998 and now with nine locations across Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, Cosmic’s range of party supplies and counter culture kit is one of New Zealand’s finest.

The STAR Trust congratulates this year’s winners for their efforts, and their contribution to supporting drug policy reform that is focused on creating better public health outcomes for New Zealand.

ENDS

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