Overview of the New Law
The UAE issued a new law on narcotics and psychotropic substances. This law is called the Federal Decree-Law No. 30 of 2021 On Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (‘Narcotics Law'). The Narcotics Law repealed and abrogated the Federal Law No. 14 of 1995, which was the previous governing law on narcotics and psychotropic drugs in the UAE.
Prohibition in Dealing in Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances
The Narcotics Law prohibits importing, exporting, transporting and bringing in narcotics and psychotropic substances, except for specific and controlled medical uses.
This has been provided under Article 10 of the Narcotics Law, which states as under.
“1. It is prohibited to import, export, transport, produce, manufacture, bring in, possess, or acquire any of the Narcotics or Psychotropic Substances listed in Schedules 1, 2, 4/Part I, and 5 attached to this Decree-Law, or carry out other types of activities and acts in connection therewith.
2- It is permissible to carry out controlled medical uses and scientific research on the substances listed in Schedules 1, 2, 4, and 5 attached to this Decree-Law, with the knowledge of the specialised scientific authorities to be determined by a decision of the Minister of Health and Community Protection in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, and in accordance with the conditions and procedures issued by a Cabinet decision.”
Article 11 of the Narcotics Law also states the following.
“It is prohibited to import, export, transport, produce, manufacture, bring, possess, or acquire any of the Narcotics or Psychotropic Substances listed in Schedules 3, 6, 7, and 8 attached to this Decree-Law or carry out other types of activities and acts in connection therewith except in the authorised cases and under the conditions stipulated in this Decree-Law.”
Penalties for Violations
The penalties for violating Article 10 and 11 of the Narcotics Law have been set out in Schedule 10.
According to Schedule 10 of the Narcotics Law, violating the provisions related to Articles 10 and 11 would result in penalties of not less than 7 or 10 years of imprisonment (depending upon the narcotic/psychotropic substances), as well as fines. Depending upon the weight of the drugs, the accused may be liable for life imprisonment as well.
Articles 57 of the Narcotics Law further provide that if the crime related to violations of Article 10/1 is committed with the intent of trafficking or promotion, or the accused belongs to a hostile group or organized gang, or works for its benefit, death penalty could be imposed.
Article 58 of the Narcotics Law provide for death penalty or life imprisonment for violating the provisions of Article 11 if the crime was committed with the intent of trafficking.
Under the Narcotics Law, the courts have the discretion to order for the deportation of the foreigner involved in crimes of drugs. This is a departure from the earlier position under which deportation of the foreigner for drugs offences was mandatory.
Article 75 of the Drug Law states as follows.
“The court shall decide to deport the foreigner who has been convicted of one of the crimes stipulated in this Decree-Law, and the deportation ruling of the foreigner shall be mandatory if he is convicted of one of the crimes of abuse, personal use, possession or acquisition with intent to abuse.”
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.