In surprising move, UAE is slowly adopting progressive drug policies
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has relaxed some of its tough drug laws, easing penalties for tourists entering the country with THC-infused products. The new protocol for travelers to Dubai is to confiscate and destroy cannabis products instead of imposing harsh penalties.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, announced the new changes on November 27. As part of a series of sweeping changes, those convicted of drug-related offenses will be able to serve their sentences in a secure detention center offering treatment and education instead of jail time. In addition, the expulsion of non-citizens in cases of drug use and possession is no longer mandatory.
Until recently, drug possession was not tolerated to any degree in the United Arab Emirates. Possession of residual amounts of any drug, including cannabis, could earn you years in prison. Until recently, four years was the minimum prison sentence for drug crimes. High Times has consistently called this country one of the worst with some of the "toughest weed laws."
But the country has updated its outdated laws. The new legislation has been described in the “Official Journal”. The latest issue of the Official Journal can be downloaded here. First-time offenders will be given minimum sentences of three months as part of a new approach which aims to reintegrate "drug users" into society, but which also provides for more severe penalties for repeat offenders.
The Official Gazette is a periodical publication edited by the Government of Dubai through the Supreme Legislation Committee (SLC). According to government website, it contains all the legislative texts published by the government of Dubai, including laws, decrees, resolutions, regulations, orders, instructions and orders.
Carrying food, drink or any other cannabis-infused product will no longer be a criminal offense. Instead, these items will simply be confiscated and destroyed. The United Arab Emirates previously reduced the minimum sentences for cannabis from four to two years in 2016.
The National News, which reports on the United Arab Emirates, announced that the new legislation will come into force on January 2. "The legislator has given the court the freedom to decide the sentence between imprisonment or fine in the first and second cases, but in the third case a combined prison sentence and fine is mandatory," he said. Dr Hasan Elhais, Al Rowaad Advocates, told National News.
“We can clearly see a recognition of the need for a coordinated approach that takes into account criminal justice and public health in relation to drug use,” said Dr Elhais. “While justice is at the heart of the new law, we can also see how the issue of drug use is viewed as a disease rather than a crime. "
Tourists tend to encounter some culture shock in the UAE: for example, it is illegal to say “fuck” in public or to take pictures of people without their permission. The same goes for the degree of punishment for cannabis.
Last April, the American Peter Clark found himself in legal danger after testing positive for cannabinoids, while he had consumed them in the United States. The site "Detained in Dubai", a group founded by Radha Stirling, claims "to have helped thousands of victims of injustice over the past ten years. "
It's there that High Times learned from Clark, who learned the hard way that Dubai isn't kidding with cannabis. Unfortunately, that was before the law of the land was updated.
“I was absolutely amazed to learn that I was charged with the presence of marijuana residue in my body. I smoked it legally in America long before I got on a plane, ”he told the Daily Mail. “I was aware of Dubai's strict drug laws, but never for a moment thought that something I did legally in my own country would lead to my arrest. "https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9457199/Nevada-man-51-arrested-Dubai-smoking-marijuana-legally-America-days-arrived.html
With the country's new drug laws, it is clear that times have changed.