Aid, Abet, Accessory laws. Who knew? Utah’s DAs say ‘not so fast.’

a-bet verb to encourage, incite, sanction, or help, especially in wrongdoing, to abet misbehavior from


According to the[i]

‘’ Both Salt Lake and Davis counties’ top attorneys have advised their county health departments against dispensing medical marijuana once the state’s distribution network is up and running. For Davis County, *** “it’s strictly the legalities of the issue and implementation,” said County Attorney Troy Rawlings.’’

      The Davis County Health Department asked for legal advice and what the ramifications of distributing a substance federally outlawed under the Controlled Substances Act could be, [Rawlings] explained. *** federal law always legally trumps state law as part of the Supremacy Clause. 

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said ***”My first concern was, look, I’m the Salt Lake County D.A. My client is the health department and Salt Lake County government. And as the [Utah] law was created, [Utah] created a disproportionate shifting of liability to the county in violation of federal law [Controlled Substance Act], and I was very deeply concerned about advising a client to knowingly and intentionally violate what would be federal law.”

         These county District Attorneys know better than to commit their county employees,  clients, doctors, nurses, druggists and support, to a life of crime. Federal Laws have penalties, fine and imprisonment, for unlicensed possession of Schedule One substances under the Controlled Substances Act.

         Perhaps the DAs were considering the aid, abet and accessory laws of both states and the United States.

         Summarizing the laws might go like this, ‘you do the crime,  you serve the time.’

The Utah state aid, abet, laws are as follows.

Utah Criminal Code. Chapter 2 Principles of Criminal Responsibility for Conduct of Another, 

Utah 76-2-202.  Criminal responsibility for direct commission of offense or for conduct of another. 
             Every person, acting with the mental state required for the commission of an offense who directly commits the offense, who solicits, requests, commands, encourages, or intentionally aids another person to engage in conduct which constitutes an offense shall be criminally liable as a party for such conduct. 

Enacted by Chapter 196, 1973 General Session

            So wrote the 1973 Utah legislature.   The aider need not be present. Assistance may  be money, action, information, or advice. These may also be a basis for conspiracy.

Utah 76-3-105.  Infractions. 

(1) Infractions are not classified.

(2) Any offense which is an infraction within this code is expressly designated and any offense defined outside this code which is not designated as a felony or misdemeanor and for which no penalty is specified is an infraction

Apparently, since the aid offense is not classified, it is considered an ‘infraction’.

Educational help video California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

18 U.S. Code  §2 (a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.[ii]

The federal aid, abet, accessory and penal laws  under 18 U.S.C. 2.  as follows.

18 U.S. Code § 3. Accessory after the fact.

Whoever, knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.

[Punishment for accessory after the fact is one half the prison term or fine of the principal, up to 15 years].[iii]

             The DAs didn’t need to read pages upon pages to understand breaking the Controlled Substance Act law is not just with the consumer, it also includes all government pharmacies that aid, abet,  or are an accessory.  Who would want that hanging over their head? 

            P.S. According to the FDA, there is no such thing as ‘medical’ marijuana.[iv]

[i] Legislators mulling ‘tweaks’ to Utah’s medical marijuana law after D.A.s question dispensary legality, July 30, 2019.

[ii] (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 684; Oct. 31, 1951, ch. 655, § 17b, 65 Stat. 717.)

[iii] (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 684Pub. L. 99–646, § 43, Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3601Pub. L. 101–647, title XXXV, § 3502, Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4921Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §§ 330011(h), 330016(2)(A), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2145, 2148.)


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