American who smoked weed before boarding plane to Dubai faces 3-year jail term

An American businessman who smoked weed before flying to Dubai has been arrested after traces of the drug were found in his urine. The man now faces three years in jail.

Peter Clark, 51, from Las Vegas, had flown to Dubai on February 24 looking for professional recording studios. However, during his first day of a business trip in the United Arab Emirates, he fell ill with pancreatitis and rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment.

Medics took his urine sample to test for drugs that showed residue traces of marijuana and hospital staff reported him to the police as required by Dubai law. The police showed up soon to the scene to charge him and Peter was arrested and put behind bars for three days.

A report in Detained in Dubai states that Peter, a retired computer games designer, was handcuffed on March 3 and taken to Al Barsha police station where he was put in a detention cell with three other men. Peter was clueless of why he was being arrested as he was aware of the strict law and hadn’t brought any drugs to UAE, or consumed any in Dubai.

Peter was still feeling extremely unwell after being discharged and was taken to the Anti-Narcotics unit where he was “thrown into a filthy cell with at least ten other men arrested for drug possession.” The reports state that police denied his repeated requests for help and medication provided to him by the hospital, causing a vein in his left elbow to become infected.

On March 6, Peter was told to return to his hotel to wait for further contact from the police. But now it’s been more than a month and he is still in Dubai “without intervention” and facing years of jail term.

Speaking to reporters he said how “absolutely stunned” he was after learning that he was being charged “due to residual marijuana” in his system which he smoked legally back in America “long before he even got on the plane.”

Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, who is representing Peter said UAE’s arbitrary enforcement of laws and lack of predictable legal outcomes would result in Peter facing years in prison even for smoking marijuana legally and even after found innocent, he could be dragged through a slow and costly legal process.