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Dubai: People who wear clothes or place stickers on their cars that display images of drugs, such as the marijuana leaf, can be punished under UAE’s new drug law.

Federal Decree Law No. 30 of 2021 on Combating Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances includes a punishment for anyone who possesses products that display images or text encouraging use of illegal substances.

The punishment can go up to a fine of Dh50,000 and in some circumstances, land violators in prison.

UAE police departments have warned against such displays, which may seem trivial to some people. But they are forbidden by law.

Colonel Abdullah Al Khayat

Colonel Abdullah Al Khayat, Director of Hemaya International Centre at Dubai Police, said there are some youngsters who want to “imitate foreign culture that supports such behaviour and considers it as personal freedom”, despite it is going against the social and religious values of the UAE.

“The law has forbidden such behaviours with a direct article in the law. People should be aware of it. What is allowed in other countries is not necessarily ight here. There are countries that allow consuming a specific amount of drugs, for example, but it is a crime in our country,” Col Al Khayat said.

He said a study by an addiction centre at a US-based university suggests that youngsters can become curious and want to consume drugs when they see their favourite celebrities or influencers use drugs. “The study says about 75 per cent of teenagers watching pictures of youngsters smoking hashish, drinking alcohol or wearing such clothes are encouraged to do the same.”

Col Al Khayat said many children in the survey had watched such pictures or clips before they reached the age of 16.

“Teenagers who watch such media can consume marijuana and other drugs four times more than the others who didn’t watch such media,” he added.

Mohammed Najeeb

Moreover, legal adviser Mohammed Najeeb said a recent package of amendments issued in the UAE directly referred to such practices. He added that anyone who wears or uses any clothes or products displaying pictures of drugs can be fined Dh5,000 and even jail for up to two years if the person repeated the offence.

“Article 55 of Law No.30 of 2021 on combating narcotics highlights such behaviour. People don’t know that some practices or behaviours are forbidden by the laws in the UAE,” Najeeb said.

What the law says

According to Article 55 of the new UAE drug law, anyone who produces, imports, sells, possess or promotes products or publications displaying pictures, drawings and texts that encourage committing crimes related to narcotics and psychotropic substances shall be fined a minimum of Dh50,000.

Meanwhile anyone who wears or uses such clothes or any products or publication shall be fined Dh5,000 and shall be jailed for up to two years in case of repeating the offence.

Officials urged community members to stay alert and raise awareness about the law among youngsters.