Drug Laws in the UAE

The UAE maintains a strict no-tolerance policy on drug use for recreational purposes. Production, import, export, transit, purchase, sale, possession, and storage of narcotic and psychotropic substances are prohibited under Federal Law No. 14 of 1995 unless they are part of supervised and controlled medical or scientific operations that comply with the relevant legislation. The UAE police have specialized divisions that deal with drug-related matters.

The UAE has ratified several international agreements regarding drugs and psychoactive substances. The treaties call for implementing internationally recognized control mechanisms to ensure that psychoactive and narcotic drugs are not readily available to the general public. The conventions are intended to:

  • make narcotic and psychotropic substances available only for medical and scientific purposes
  • prevent their diversion into illicit channels
  • eliminate drug trafficking and abuse.

Federal Law No. 14 of 1995 describes how these conventions are applied in the UAE and Federal Law No. 4 of 1983 describes the basic requirements for prescribing and supplying prescription medicines.

New Drug Laws

Despite remaining severe, drug regulations were modified slightly in early 2022 concerning THC, the primary psychoactive element in cannabis. The punishment for carrying THC-containing food, beverages, or other products is no more extended imprisonment; instead, the law will seize the item, and the offender will likely pay a fine. However, using or possessing vapes or e-cigarettes laced with cannabis oil is still severely forbidden.

For first-time offenders, possible jail terms have been lowered from two years to three months, and rehabilitation will be made available during that period.

However, the law is still strict regarding using more potent drugs and drug trafficking. The fine for encouraging drug use and aiding in the sale of narcotics and psychoactive substances has been increased to AED 50,000, and offenders face a minimum five-year prison term.

Significant Changes

Changes to the penalties for first time drug offences in the UAE

In relation to first time offences, the previous minimum sentence of two years has been changed to three months for first time drug offenders, and a fine between AED 20,000 and AED 100,000.

This gradual shift in position is happening for a worthy cause. The underlying principle has changed to treating drug use as a disease rather than a crime. The new law gives the court the power to send offenders to specialized rehabilitation institutions.

The obligatory deportation of Expat Drug users

Drug-using expatriates are typically deported back to their native countries after serving jail time, but Article 75 of the new law gives judges the authority to decide such matters.

Changes to the penalties for repeated drug offences

For repeated offences within a period of 3 years, the prison sentence is increased to a minimum of 6 months and a fine between AED 30,000 and AED 100,000.

The first and second offenses are subject to the Court’s discretion on punishment, while a third offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in jail and a minimum fine of AED 200,000.

The Promotion and Trafficking of drugs

The promotion and trafficking of drugs are now more strictly prohibited in the UAE. No matter where the crime takes place, drug trafficking and drug promotion cases now fall under the sole jurisdiction of the Abu Dhabi Federal Courts.

Per the revised rules, the minimum penalties for anyone found guilty of promoting drug use and assisting the sale of narcotics and psychoactive substances increased from AED 20,000 to AED 50,000, with a minimum 5-year prison term remaining in effect.

If these people are shown to have caused misery to others by their acts, the situation becomes more serious. When an offence results in injury to the victim, the criminal faces a minimum punishment of AED 100,000 and a 7-year sentence.

The criminal faces a minimum term of 10 years in prison and a minimum fine of AED 200,000 if the harm is considered substantial and in severe circumstances. If a criminal causes someone else to die via their actions, they could receive a life term or perhaps the death penalty.

Do you need a Lawyer?

Have you faced charges in the Emirates for drug offenses? If so, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced lawyer to safeguard your rights. In the UAE, we offer accused people legal assistance for all kinds of difficult drug charges because our lawyer services have experience with the country’s criminal code.

Our attorney team is capable and dealing with all kinds of drugs cases within the emirates. Our drugs lawyers in the United Arab Emirates have experience in drugs cases and we are capable to handle drug cases very smoothly such as represented in the courts, paperwork, written litigation or memorandum, etc. Contact us for any Legal help!