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)