Possession: Use Of Drugs & Alcohol In Dubai
Dubai has a zero-tolerance policy regarding laws directly related to possession or use of drugs/narcotics and alcohol consumption. The minimum sentence for possession is 4 years and over the years some high profile names have been connected with narcotic related issues in Dubai.
There is seemingly no barrier between a teenager possessing cannabis and a known film star from America for example; the laws apply to ‘everyone’ rich or poor! Dubai International Airport has highly sophisticated equipment to detect drugs which have proven to be very successful.
Apart from the usual suspects such as cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and cannabis the UAE has a list of over 400 banned medicines including codeine based cough syrup for example.
Illegal Drug Consumption in Dubai – A True Story!
In 2010 a German air hostess met friends in a Dubai hotel and accepted a ‘sweet’ from a stranger. Shortly afterwards the air hostess felt dizzy and uncomfortable! Following a blood test it came to light that the air hostess had tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in her blood. Angered by being duped the air hostess decides to report the incident to Dubai Police and ends up getting arrested for illegal drug consumption!
After 4 months in jail the air hostess went before a Dubai court on a charge of consuming hashish and the case was adjourned and bail was refused so back to jail she went!
The air hostess was released on bail following the next hearing.
According to a Gulf News report 18 March 2011, her lawyer argued:
My client is a claimant and not a defendant in this case. She is the one who reported to the police that she was drugged….
Doctors informed her that tetra hydro canabenol appeared in her blood tests. She became hysterical and reported to the police what the Indian man did to her. She cooperated with the police and the Indian suspect was arrested in a sting operation. He was referred to court where he was punished and deported. All witnesses and law enforcement officers confirmed that she was the one who reported the matter to the police.
The flight attendant was eventually acquitted of all drug charges in the Dubai Court. The Presiding Judge said she “is innocent”.
Drug Possession Penalties in Dubai
The penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs in Dubai are severe. This can lead to a death penalty and possession of the smallest amount of drugs can easily lead to a four-year prison sentence. As in line with the story above, the Emirati authorities recognise drugs in the blood stream as ‘possession’. Herbal highs like ‘Spice’ are legal in the UAE! It must be somewhat terrifying for authorities in that Dubai has one of the busiest airports in the world and so a lot of drugs passes through and of course, some of it remains in Dubai which immediately challenges Dubai’s reputation as being a safe and clean city.
Alcohol Possession Laws in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
In Dubai non-Muslims can get a liquor licence to drink alcohol at home and these licences are limited to certain quantities. A growth industry in Dubai is having alcohol delivered to your home by taxi so as you do not run the risk of leaving home and being caught with ‘illegal’ alcohol. This supports a typical taxi’s driver’s poor salary but if caught the taxi driver will surely be deported.
Dubai residents must also obtain a licence to drink legally in licensed venues. Should a passenger in transit be caught under the influence at Dubai International Airport they can be arrested and undoubtedly miss their connecting flight!
Dubai’s licensing laws dictates that alcohol is only sold in clubs and hotels. It is illegal to drink or be drunk in the street or public place. The legal drinking age is 21 years of age in Dubai and 18 years in Abu Dhabi.
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