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Dubai Jails British Football Coach for 25 Years Over Cannabis Oil Found in Car

It is not every day that you hear of someone being jailed for carrying cannabis oil, let alone CBD. But it happened to one unlucky British football coach in Dubai. Billy Hood, 24, of Kensington, explains that local police approached him outside of his home and asked to search his house and car for drugs. Authorities found small amounts of CBD in his car and arrested him on the spot. As American citizens, this probably sounds crazy, but UAE law does not allow any form of cannabis whatsoever – including CBD – which means that Hood could be facing 25 years in jail!

The most recent update on the situation is that The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Dubai said it was “giving consular support to a British man who has been imprisoned in the UAE” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/13/british-football-coach-sentenced-to-25-years-jail-in-dubai-over-cbd-vape-liquid).

Authorities say that they found vape oils in Hood’s car that contained CBD, which although legal in the UK and many other countries, is illegal in the UAE. Even worse, because the oils had been purchased in the UK, Hood has also received a trafficking charge.

“I was shocked, scared and confused. I told them I wasn’t aware or in possession of any drugs or substances,” Hood recently said (The Guardian). Hood explained that he, himself, has a “zero tolerance policy” for drugs and believes that the CBD oil had been left in his car by a friend who had visited a few weeks earlier.

Upon the discovery of the oil, Hood said that he was immediately detained “in an isolation cell for 14 days without hygiene products. After a week, he was informed that he would face a second prosecution” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/13/british-football-coach-sentenced-to-25-years-jail-in-dubai-over-cbd-vape-liquid).

Additionally, Hood has explained that he was forced to sign documents in Arabic, which he does not speak or understand. His best friend Alfie Cain, 24, has since claimed Hood told him he was beaten, slapped, and only given bread and small amounts of water while at the Al-Barsha prison by police officers (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10091199/Mother-British-man-jailed-25-YEARS-Dubai-cannabis-oil-says-completely-broken.html).

Hood’s family is working closely with an organization called Detained by Dubai and local lawyers. Additionally, they have set up a GoFundMe here: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/yqhqp-hood-family.

Radha Stirling, the Chief Executive of Detained in Dubai explained that visitors to Dubai absolutely must be aware of the country’s zero tolerance policy on drugs – because, as you can see, they’re dead serious about it. She further explained that the country’s drug policy is so strict that recent convictions include “possession of poppy seeds, which contain opium alkaloids; medical prescriptions; and traces of drugs consumed months before arrival in the country showing up in urine tests” (The Guardian).

Although the situation looks grim, Hood’s family and lawyers are working diligently on the case to try to get him out of such an unnecessarily strict jail sentence.

This story reminds us of how lucky we are in the United States to have legal accessibility to products such as CBD. As mentioned above, Hood’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help them fight these charges. If you would like to donate, click here.