American Arrested In Dubai For Smoking Pot Before His Trip – In Las Vegas

A Nevada businessman smoked marijuana at home in Las Vegas prior to a business trip to Dubai. that got him arrested by authorities in the U.A.E..

Peter Clark flew to Dubai on February 24 to look at potential recording studio locations for a video game. Clark used to work on games for Playstation and Xbox. The 51 year old was a day into his visit when pancreatitis sent him to the hospital. His urine sample showed traces of pot in his system. And the hospital reported it to police. After 3 days in jail the man is confined to his hotel, pending charges.

While being held in jail, a vein where an IV line had been placed as part of his treatment became infected and antibiotics he had been prescribed were not handed over by prison staff.

After being freed he was repeatedly summoned to a police station and told he would have his passport returned. ..[He] cannot leave the country until prosecutors decide if he should face a court.

The country treats drugs harshly, but this American didn’t buy drugs in the U.A.E., use drugs in the U.A.E. or bring drugs into the country. When he smoked pot, he did it somewhere that it was legal for him to do so. However drugs were in his system in the U.A.E. and that’s a crime.

Infrequent marijuana users will test negative in urine after 1-3 days however in heavy users marijuana can last in the system for up to a month or longer.

Last year I wrote about an Emirates flight attendant who went on the worst first date of her life, getting arrested because the person she met had two joints of marijuana in his apartment. There was speculation she was in his apartment as part of a commercial relationship. People smoke pot all the time in the UAE but if they get caught in its presence the penalties can be harsh.

Tourists who are 21 years old or more can drink in licensed venues in the UAE as well as onboard flights. Emirates touts their wine program investment. It is not illegal to drink the wine served onboard. However public intoxication is illegal. A woman was once arrested because she drank a glass of wine on an Emirates flight however she’d never have had her blood alcohol tested if she hadn’t gotten into an altercation at immigration.

You’re even supposed to submit the medications you want to bring into the country in advance for approval. No one does this of course, and it winds up fine almost all the time – except when it doesn’t.

What’s problematic is being charged with something that’s basically not a crime unless the government decides to enforce it. Several Mideast countries can be criticized heavily for this, but it’s hardly unique to the Gulf region. Americans violate laws all the time, usually without consequence, however once you’re the target of an investigation everyday lawbreaking becomes an issue.

(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Joe
    That’s BS. The Emirates laws are idiotic. Religion is far more addictive and dangerous than pot but religious conservatives are too stupid to realize it.

  2. Terrible luck if true. Curious to know why they would be testing for THC in the hospital though. Seems odd to say the least.

  3. For some people with some kind of health problems,
    their blood alcohol level can be very high even if they don’t drink alcoholic beverages:

    In some cases, a person with a naturally elevated BAC above the legal driving limit could be tagged as drunk despite not having been drinking alcohol and not even having impaired judgment.

  4. Some friends were recently in Vegas and said the pot smoking is really bad. Almost everywhere they went you could smell it. I don’t mind people doing it in their homes within reason but not in public.

    Another reason not to visit (I used to go at least yearly but got tired of people with their hands out).

  5. @Wiley Dog – regardless of what you think they are the laws of that country. There are many places with very severe Penang or drug possession or even use. Undercut hat and comply or risk the consequences.

    BTW this is one of the issues with marijuana legalization and the work place. You. San get drunk on Saturday night but an sober Monday at work. However if you smoke a joint Saturday you could fail a drug test Monday and be fired.

    Haven’t smoked pot in many, many years but find this an issue. Difference in under the influence and record of past use but, unfortunately, technology (and employment law) doesn’t have a way to easily determine it.

  6. And American’s think that we should have a Christian government here at home, doesn’t mixing thousands year old delusions and fairy tales work out so well in other countries.

  7. This horror story is not going to bring anything good to Dubai. Frankly I’m surprised that the government was dumb enough to get involved. The only worse instance I can recall offhand for there is when a young female hotel employee was gang raped by hotel guests. When she went to the police she was thrown in jail for adultery since the rapists were married. I haven’t smoked pot in a very long time but after reading this I’m much less inclined to transit Dubai, let alone actually stay there.

  8. As easy as it is to criticize the UAE, we should look home to western countries that criminalize drugs. Half of people in jails and prisons in the U.S. are there because of the war on drugs. It’s a liberal/leftist belief that government owns your body and has a right to tell you what you can do to it or put in it. Being conservative means opposing government telling people what they can and can’t do to their own bodies from seat belt laws to drugs laws to speech laws. Unfortunately, not enough conservatives realize cops enforcing drug laws are big government intervention in our lives/death of freedom and leftists continue saying government knows best for your life and body. The next law to be passed by a California county or municipality will be to make it a crime to possess or sell red meat. Illogical and ignorant “conservatives” will praise cops who enforce it and arrest people for possessing red meat. Every day I hope for a leader who will show conservatives the light (that cops are the enemy of freedom). It wasn’t Trump.

    Putting aside that western government wage the war on drugs themselves (and war on speech like in Europe where free speech is illegal), I wish they stood up for western citizens. They have the power to cut off all money and tourists to the UAE and countries that mistreat western citizens (even Israel deserves note here for how it mistreats westerner tourists). We could say the same thing for cutting out China. Of course, these governments never protect their own citizens.

  9. But the locals can sit outside cafes sucking on hookas (not hookers) all day ?
    What manner of s**t is in those things? Smells like burning camel dung, but it’s probably something else…

  10. Jackson, liberals (which is not the same as leftists) most assuredly do not think government “owns your body”, otherwise they would be in favor of anti-abortion laws. Conservatives on the other hand seem happy to tell women what to do with theirs, at least in this case. As you said an awful lot of them supported Nixon’s bizarre and highly profitable war on drugs…or rather were against people who use them. It seems though that a fair number of Latin American countries are getting fed up with being in this program as no matter how many billions the US pumps in to support their police and military it is an endless and hopeless fight which destabilizes everything. As long as there is demand there will be supply.

    Anyway…had a great time in the UAE last year, visiting all 7 emirates with those outside Dubai and Abu Dhabi being normal and rather interesting places. My Lebanese physician carefully wrote out in Arabic the (legal) medicines I was taking, though nobody ever asked. While this whole situation is bizarre and certainly over the top, the only takeaway is to know and obey the local laws.

  11. Good to know!!!

    If someone is smoking marijuana, buying him a one way ticket to UAE!!!

  12. I was expecting the worst of click bait with Gary’s title. But by god, it’s actually right on the mark, lol.

    Of course it’s absurd. There was no clear “threat” or shown use in Dubai (even if there was). But the reality is that things work differently there. I am sure one can find hundreds of travelers to Louisiana or Mississippi that were targeted for whatever reason. End of the day it comes down to either respecting that you risk problems by going there or make a conscious decision not to go there.

    For a place like Dubai, that targets a wealthier Euro Vegas crowd, it’s perhaps not the best look.

  13. How about this? Know the frickin laws of a country before you go to them. This isn’t a new development. The idiot was smoking weed right before he went. Hard to feel any sympathy. Yea the law is garbage, but if you go to another country you are subject to their laws. Whining about it doesn’t change anything.

  14. you can test positive for marijuana up to 45 days after you’ve smoked it. Best solution is to never ever go to the UAE if you ever smoke week, legally or otherwise since the UAE is gonna be stone stupid about it. Pun intended. Pity though because F on an A380 is wonderful and they have some fantastic single malts and the Hennessy Paradis which is incredible. Nope. No hypocrisy at all in this story. Oh. And the F class lounge in Dubai is the entire floor and the booze they have there is also excellent, and you can mate it w/their cigar bars. I kinda loved it the few times I’ve been. Some of the posts in this thread make “reefer madness” seem sane.

  15. Boohoo.

    Don’t do drugs. People who smoke pot at losers and bad people. Maybe this will keep their I’ll away from the rest of us.

  16. @JS – that’s not how the founders say they saw it, article 11 of the 1796 treaty of tripoli (unanimously ratified by the us senate) begins “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”

  17. @Joecool
    LOL, I can always tell when someone was “home schooled”.
    Actually, alcohol stays in your system a lot longer than most people realize. If one drinks heavily on a Saturday night, the idea of “sleeping it off” by Sunday is fantasy. Even by Monday, there is still alcohol in your bloodstream. Though I have not had a toke in many years, I do like a glass of wine or two.
    Addictive personalities will become addicted to many things.

  18. I’ve smoked a lot of hash in the UAE but never weird weed.
    Good times!
    Maybe the dude was being an entitled prick so the authorities knocked him down a few notches.

  19. @Slaphappy – You must be Mormon since you are so vehemently against drugs like caffeine and alcohol.

  20. So sad that America has to officially become a stoner nation. But this guy should know if you’re traveling to a maniacal country it is a roll of the dice.

  21. Why do people keep traveling to this backwards ass country? Just say no. I have no desire to go to the UAE. It’s all fake!

  22. I try to avoid this ghastly cesspit, other than in transit. Why people go there is a mystery: even more extraordinary, some view it as a vacation destination.

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