Man Faces Imprisonment In Dubai After Legally Using Marijuana Before His Trip

As fun as international vacations can be, there are ways that they can quickly turn nightmarish if you don't prepare yourself for where you're going.

In some cases, you simply won't be allowed to fly there if you aren't vaccinated for certain diseases, with yellow fever serving as a common example. But other, more serious problems can arise if you find yourself running afoul of your destination's laws.

And even if you know what they do and don't allow, it's not always apparent how seriously enforcers will take what may seem like minor violations. This reality emerged in the tragic case of Otto Warmbier, who PBS Newshour reported as returning home in a coma after a year of hazardous detention in response to his alleged theft of a propaganda poster in North Korea.

But in the case of one Nevada man, it's hard to imagine how he could have prepared for the unfortunate events he now finds himself dealing with.

On February 24, 51-year-old Peter Clark boarded a flight from Las Vegas to Dubai.

According to The Daily Mail, Clark is a retired video game designer who sought to branch out into an unspecified new project.

That project apparently led him to Dubai, where he was planning to scout recording studios.

One day after arriving, however, Clark soon fell ill with pancreatitis.

As The New York Post reported, he had to submit a urine sample while he was there and doctors there would find traces of hashish in his system.

As required by law, they reported these test results to authorities and Clark was arrested for possession.

It's worth noting that Clark said he was aware of the United Arab Emirates' policy on drugs and neither brought any over nor tried to procure any once he arrived in Dubai.

However, he told The Daily Mail that he had smoked marijuana legally while back in Las Vegas and it had remained in his system by the time he went to the hospital.

In his words, "I knew about Dubai’s strict drugs laws but never for one moment did I think something I legally did in my own country would lead to my arrest."

After spending some time in jail, Clark now finds himself forced to stay in his hotel while his case develops further.

According to The Daily Mail, the vein that he had received an IV treatment in became infected while he was jailed and the antibiotics he was previously prescribed were not given to him by prison staff.

After his release, Clark said he was repeatedly told that police would return his passport if he came back to Al Barsha police station.

However, The Daily Mail reported that he was instead questioned about the presence of marijuana in his system despite providing the same answers each time.

He has since been placed on a no-fly list and remains stuck in the UAE until prosecutors decide whether or not to charge him.

While he awaits their decision, Clark has obtained legal representation.

His case has also attracted the support of a pressure group called Detained in Dubai, who had previously advocated for a British solider who was similarly held in the nation under false drug charges.

As the group's founder Radha Stirling said, "The UAE’s arbitrary enforcement of laws and lack of predictable legal outcomes means that Peter faces years in prison for legal smoking marijuana. Even if found innocent he can be dragged through a slow a costly legal process."

She also alleged that it's not uncommon for "corrupt police informants" to help prosecutors elevate possession charges to trafficking charges under false pretenses.

Stirling also said that Clark's best chance is for the U.S. State Department to get involved in the matter.

As she put it, "The U.S. State Department needs to ensure that its citizens who visit the UAE are safe from legal abuse."

The U.S. Embassy in Dubai has reportedly been informed of his arrest.

h/t: The Daily Mail

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