Source: CNN Author: Reuters Contact: Website: http://www.cnn.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 DUTCH MARIJUANA USE LOWER THAN U.S. - STUDY AMSTERDAM, April 16 (Reuters) - The Dutch are less inclined to smoke marijuana than U.S. citizens, although the drug is widely available in Dutch coffee shops, according to a study. The survey by the Centre for Drug Research at the University of Amsterdam found only two to three percent of Dutch over the age of 12 had used marijuana over a one-month period. In the United States, where it is illegal to grow, purchase or use marijuana, a 1996 government study concluded around five percent of the population used the drug at least once a month, the Dutch researchers said. For the past 20 years, Dutch over 18 have been able to buy and use small quantities of marijuana in so-called coffee shops. There are around 300 of these in Amsterdam alone. The Centre for Drug Research conducted its study in three cities -- Amsterdam, Tilburg and Utrecht. Previous surveys, which concentrated solely on Amsterdam, had suggested up to 6.5 percent of the Dutch population regularly used marijuana.