Believing that the increase in public marijuana smoking is a “larger public health issue,” Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas said officers will continue with efforts to combat the pot puffing — despite the city council voting down ordinance suggestions.

“I don’t think we can keep giving citations and write our way out if it,” Haas said yesterday.

Haas provided an update to city officials earlier this month that cited an increase of public consumption of marijuana in Cambridge, particularly by school children.


He said the number of youths cited for possession has increased this year by about three times over last year.

The increase is concerning not only for police, but also for other city officials.

“We’ve just seen over the last probably six or eight years that trend starting to go up again and it’s disconcerting,” said Gisela Rots, director of the Cambridge Prevention Coalition. “In conversations we’ve had with teens, they think it’s kind of the social norm.”

Haas said that some of the increase in citations is due to a misunderstanding of the decriminalization of the drug that took effect in early 2009.

He suggested a pair of ordinances to help police stem the increase, but the city council last week voted down a review of them, according to the Cambridge Chronicle.

Mayor David Maher was unavailable to comment yesterday.