Congressman questions Park Police's lack of response to protesters smoking pot on National Mall
There is some blowback from members of Congress over Monday's marijuana protest on the National Mall.
The chairman of the House Oversight Committee is demanding to know how dozens of people were able to smoke marijuana out in the open on the Mall and not be stopped by Park Police.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he saw FOX 5's report on Monday and he wants answers from Park Police.
On Monday, nearly 60 people were demonstrating in favor of pot legalization, lighting up marijuana joints and smoking them in plain sight on the National Mall.
The National Mall is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Park Police, but there was no sign of police to stop what was flagrant violation of both federal and D.C. law.
On Monday, a Park Police spokesperson told FOX 5 "that they didn't receive any complaint calls," so no units had been dispatched to the scene.
We tried getting Park Police to speak with FOX 5 on Tuesday, but a spokesperson said her words were taken out of context and that she now says she wasn't aware of any complaint calls. She adds Park Police does not condone illegal activity.
But Park Police refused to be interviewed on camera and did not issue an explanation about how the pot protest was able to play out for so long without any police on scene.
Rep. Chaffetz spoke with FOX 5 about the incident and said in his viewpoint, U.S. Park Police failed to enforce the law. He said if they won't talk to FOX 5, they will have to talk to him and the House Oversight Committee to explain what happened.
"It is still a violation of federal law to so blatantly smoke pot on the nation's mall," he said. "You can protest and petition your government. But can you go out and have dozens of people smoking pot out on the Mall? No! Where were the Park Police?"
It was no mystery on who was behind the demonstration. The group DC Cannabis Campaign were permitted by the Park Police to put up what they called a "Liberty Pole" to support of D.C. statehood and they oppose Rep. Chaffetz's efforts to end D.C.'s pot legalization law.
Organizers said they expected and were prepared to be arrested as soon as they started smoking, but no one was there to arrest them.