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New UAE drug law: Optional deportation for expat convicts

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Tourists, visitors carrying food or products mixed with narcotics while entering the country for the first time will not face legal action

The new amendments of the UAE’s anti-narcotics law provide the court with the option of deporting expats convicted in drug-related cases.

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The federal decree law no. 30 of 2021 on combating narcotics and psychotropic substances changes the previous mandatory deportation of expats convicted with drug consumption or possession of narcotics for personal use.

The law, to be effective from January 2, 2022, brings key amendments to the Federal Law no. 14 of 1994.

It also stipulates that tourists and visitors carrying food items or products mixed with narcotics while entering the country for the first time will not face legal action.

According to article 96 of the new decree law, the items will be confiscated at port entries and destroyed. Carrying such items will not be treated as import, transport or possession of drugs.

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The new UAE anti-narcotics law comes as part of the largest set of legislative reforms in the UAE’s history, announced on Saturday, as the country marks its 50th anniversary and prepares for its next five-decade journey.

It aims to maintain public health and combat the use, sale and production of narcotics across the country in accordance with the best international practices.

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