New UAE drug law: Tougher penalties on serial offenders, drug dealers from today

First-time convicts are subject to a three-month prison term or a fine not exceeding Dh100,000


Sherouk Zakaria

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 2:06 PM

Last updated: Sun 2 Jan 2022, 10:21 AM

The federal decree no. 30 of 2021 on combating narcotics and psychotropic substances, to be effective from January 2, 2022, introduces three degrees of a penalty issued against drug use and possession.

First-time convicts are subject to a three-month prison term or a fine not less than Dh20,000 and not exceeding Dh100,000.

The court has the discretion to exchange punishment for first-time offenders with treatment in specialized rehabilitation units to be established across the country under the new law.

Repeated drug consumption or possession within three years of the first conviction can earn the offender a six-month jail term or a fine not less than Dh30,000 and not exceeding Dh100,000.

However, a third-time offence brings a two-year prison term and a fine of at least Dh100,000.

Legal consultant Dr Hasan Elhais of Al Rowaad Advocates explained, “first- and second-time offenders will face either a fine or imprisonment, but in the third-time violation, they will be subject to both jail and fine.”


Heftier fines for promoting and selling drugs

Fines of crimes related to inciting and inducing drug use and facilitating narcotics sales increased from Dh20,000.

The new law imposes a minimum of 5-year jail term and a minimum Dh50,000 fine on anyone who induces, incites or facilitates drug use for another person. The crime will be considered an aggravating circumstance if it took place in public gatherings, educational and sports institutions or places of worship and involved a female, juvenile, person of determination, or someone under the influence of alcohol.

If the crime caused harm to the victim, the offender faces minimum 7 years in prison and a fine of at least Dh100,000.

If serious harm was caused, the offender faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a Dh200,000 fine at least. If the crime results in the victim’s death, the offender faces the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Those who manage, prepare or set up places for drug consumption shall face a jail term of at least 7 or 10 years, depending on the substance facilitated, and a minimum fine of Dh100,000. The penalty of repeated offence has increased to life imprisonment combined with a minimum Dh100,000 fine.

The new UAE anti-narcotics law comes as part of the most extensive set of legislative reforms in the UAE’s history, announced on Saturday, as the country marks its 50th anniversary and prepares for its next five-decade journey.

It aims to maintain public health and combat the use, sale and production of narcotics across the country in accordance with the best international practices.

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