Dubai resident cleared of drug possession and use

He admitted using and possessing hashish but defence team argued the irrelevance of his confession

Dubai Criminal Court acquits man of drug possession charges after airport customs officers found cannabis-infused chocolate in his luggage. Photo: The National
Powered by automated translation

A Dubai resident who was caught with cannabis-infused chocolate has been acquitted of drug possession charges based on the latest legal changes in the UAE.

The man from China, 25, landed at Dubai International Airport’s terminal 3 on February 11 after returning from a holiday in the US.

After being pulled aside for a customs check, officers found four bars of chocolate and 20 e-cigarettes in his luggage. When asked about the items, he said they contained tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol oil.

Further tests confirmed the man had consumed hashish prior to his arrival.

He was taken into custody then referred to the public prosecution where he was charged with using and possessing drugs for personal use.

Pending trial, the man spent more than two months in detention.

He admitted using and possessing hashish but at the Dubai Criminal Court the man’s defence team argued the irrelevance of his confession in light of the latest legal updates.

“Based on the legal changes and specifically article 96 of the updated anti-narcotics law, prosecutors should not have referred this case to the court in the first place,” said Dr Hasan Elhais from Al Rowaad Advocates, representing the man.

“The offence our client was being charged with has been decriminalised in the UAE.”

On August 15, judges cleared the man of the charges.

Changes to the UAE's drug laws limited criminal action against people found to be carrying products that contain cannabis extracts.

According to the reforms that came into force last January, items including medicine and food that have traces of the drug, such as THC compound, will be seized and destroyed, but those carrying them will not be prosecuted.

The rule applies to first-time offenders.

Updated: August 22, 2022, 1:06 PM