All You DO Is Rules, Dept. Of Health

By Bradley Harrington

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” – Laurence J. Peter, “The Peter Principle,” 1969 –

As I ponder our local news, I sometimes come across a story so hilariously silly, so ripe for the lampooning, that I say to myself: “Man, you just can’t make this stuff up.”

Like this nugget:

“More than 100 new laws went into effect [July 1], including one letting seizure patients use an oil from the cannabis plant. But because the state Department of Health hasn’t yet created hemp extract registration cards, patients or their parents are unsure whether they could be arrested for possession of the product called cannabidiol …” (“Health Dept. unprepared for hemp oil regulation,” WTE, July 5.)

And the reason for this lapse?

“It’s a complex process,” said health department spokeswoman Kim Deti. “Rules are not a simple thing to complete.”

Really, Ms. Deti? But isn’t that all you people do, sit around and create rules? Shucks, you would think you have it down to a science by now. How many bureaucrats can it take to bang out a “hemp extract registration card” in Quark Express, for God’s sake?

Being that the Health Department is in the same location as the Wyoming Department of Education, perhaps you could borrow a few of their educrats to get the job done. That way, as a side benefit, we would have less propaganda to worry about in the public schools, inasmuch as Superintendent Jillian Balow found her recent trip to China to be so “educational.”

Ah, but things are never that simple, are they?

After all, I’m just a dopey layman with no detailed understanding of the nuances of regulation creation. Plus, we also have to figure there is more to this than just creating some goofy cards: The Health Department also has to “create a confidential database of patients who use the oil.”

Uh-oh. That explains everything.

I mean, look how long it took the federal government to create the healthcare.gov website – nearly three years and $2.2 billion down the toilet, and it still doesn’t work worth a hoot.

By those lights, the health agency should be able to solve this issue with 7.3 times the money the state is blowing on the constantly rising costs for the “Capitol renovation.” Maybe they will both cost the same and be ready by 2019. Who knows?

Except that the number of people in Wyoming who have neurological disorders who will be sucking down the evil cannabidiol oil are probably numbered in the low hundreds, if that many.

Golly, my contacts database has more people in it than that, and I busted it out in about six hours. And it works, too, with a pretty little Access front-end on it and everything.

But then again, I don’t survive at taxpayer expense, and I had a mission to accomplish in the real world too.

And there’s more: On the possibility of arrests for unregulated cannabidiol usage, Ms. Deti was quick to point out: “I don’t want to provide a law-enforcement interpretation of how they would relate to a situation.”

Well, that one’s easy. You send in a SWAT team to break down doors at zero-dark-thirty; shoot dead any dogs onsite; throw everybody to the floors with guns pointed to their temples; and demand to know under which floorboard the contraband’s stashed.

After all, that’s how it works in the rest of the country, and Wyoming’s just as full of legislators and county sheriffs who don’t give a rip about your Fourth and Fifth amendment rights as elsewhere.

Nor was the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Robert McKim, R-Afton, pleased with the news: “I think they’re kind of dragging their feet maybe just a little, on it.”

You think, Mr. McKim? Quite frankly, you are far too polite in your assessment. “Absolute failure” would be the correct phrase to use in this instance.

Finally, curious about the other “more than 100 new laws” that also went into effect, I poked around on the Web looking for a listing. “Ignorance is no excuse,” after all, so I thought I had better do my civic duty and bone up on the rest.

Until I discovered that the listing – the “Session Laws of Wyoming, 2015 General Session” – is 684 pages long. At that point, I decided to pass. After all, Obamacare was only 2,600 pages, and nobody read it either.

Besides, if I tried to read all of that, I would be having a brain seizure of my own, and be ready to do a little of the evil cannabidiol myself.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming; he can be reached at brad@bradandbarbie.com.

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