All drugs and narcotics are strictly prohibited in the UAE and can land people in jail for a long time, as one British tourist recently learned. The 31-year-old woman will be sent to jail for 10 years after her sentence was upheld by a Dubai Court of Appeals on Monday. The defendant was charged with trying to smuggle 4.4 kilograms of marijuana oil - also known as CBD - through the emirate's airport last April.
According to Gulf News, she was arrested with 307 pods packed with the oil, which is used in e-cigarettes. She was also found to be in possession of 1.4 grams of cocaine powder at the time of her detainment.
The appellate sentence comes months after a Dubai Court of First Instance initially sentenced the woman to 10 years in jail along with a 50,000-dirham fine ($13,600) and a deportation order. The woman's lawyer appealed her original sentence, arguing she had no criminal intent, never attempted to hide the pods, and simply didn't know the substance was illegal in the country.
The British woman now faces jail time unless she decides to appeal the second verdict in a court of cassation within the next 30 days.
The director of the Anti-Narcotics Department at Dubai Police, Brigadier Eid Thani Hareb, recently announced that seizures of marijuana oil were on the rise in the emirate.
In May, Dubai Customs' Passenger Operations Department revealed that "87 seizures of marijuana oil were made in the first quarter of 2019 compared to seven in 2018."
In recent months, two incidents involving American tourists were reported to authorities. One involved a man who was caught carrying 11 marijuana oil pods and the other saw a traveler carry 675 grams of the substance in 37 pods.
These cases were all reported despite the fact that local police issued a warning regarding CBD last year.
The UAE is serious about fighting drugs
The city's authorities majorly cracked down on drug and narcotic use throughout 2019. According to newly released statistics by Dubai Police, authorities were able to arrest 166 suspects charged in over 71 drug-related cases and block 15 websites involved in the trafficking and sale of drugs last year.
The country does not tolerate the recreational use of drugs. Its "Federal Law No. 14 of 1995 criminalizes production, import, export, transport, buying, selling, possessing, storing of narcotic and psychotropic substances unless done so as part of supervised and regulated medical or scientific activities in accordance with the applicable laws."
The UAE police has dedicated departments to deal with drug issues. The country also monitors and takes action against anyone who uses the internet and social media to promote drugs in any way.