The UAE Drugs Law, Federal Decree-Law No. 30/2021, clearly defines narcotic substances and outlines the severe legal consequences associated with their possession, use, or distribution. This comprehensive law classifies narcotic substances into various schedules based on their potential for harm and abuse, also prescribing penalties for offenders. This article provides an overview of the UAE Drugs Law and the legal consequences individuals may face when caught carrying narcotic substances in the country.

Prohibited Activities

The law prohibits various activities related to narcotics and psychotropic substances, including import, export, manufacture, transport, production, possession, and acquisition.

However, these activities are permissible for controlled scientific or medical purposes under the supervision of relevant scientific authorities. For any other use, the activities are strictly prohibited according to the UAE Drug Law.

Penalties for Drug Possession

Possession, abuse, or personal use of certain substances can lead to severe legal consequences under the UAE Drugs Law.

1. First-Time Offenders (Article 41):

Individuals found abusing, possessing, or personally using substances listed in Schedules 1, 2, and 5, or any prohibited plants mentioned in Schedule 4, may face a minimum penalty of three months imprisonment or a fine ranging from AED 20,000 to AED 100,000.

2. Second-Time Repeat Offense within 3 Years:

For a second-time offense within three years after the first act, higher penalties apply. Offenders may face imprisonment for at least six months and fines between AED 30,000 to AED 100,000.

3. Third-Time or More Offenses:

Committing the same crime for the third time or more results in imprisonment for at least two years and a fine of not less than AED 100,000.

4. Substances in Schedule 1 and Schedule 4 (Article 42):

Abusing or personally using substances listed in Item 29 of Schedule 1 or any plant mentioned in Item 8 of Part II, Schedule 4 leads to imprisonment for a minimum of three months or fines ranging from AED 10,000 to AED 100,000.

5. Substances in Schedules 3, 6, 7, and 8 (Article 43):

Abusing or personally using narcotics listed in Schedules 3, 6, 7, and 8 without authorization results in a punishment of three months' imprisonment or fines between AED 20,000 to AED 100,000.

6. Unspecified Substances (Article 44):

Even substances not explicitly mentioned in the New Drugs Law but causing sedation or mental harm can lead to penalties. Offenders may face imprisonment of up to six months or a fine ranging from AED 20,000 to AED 100,000.

Additionally, Article 45 of the UAE Drugs Law grants the court the discretion to order the imprisonment of first-time offenders to an addiction treatment and rehabilitation unit instead of imposing penalties.


The UAE Drugs Law emphasizes the importance of rehabilitation for first-time offenders while imposing severe penalties for repeat offenses. Residents and visitors in the UAE need to have a clear understanding of these legal provisions to avoid legal consequences.

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.