Are All Illegal Drugs Treated Equally When It Comes to Punishing Drug Offenses?

No, sentencing for drug crimes varies greatly. Penalties depend on the criminal conduct (possession, manufacture, distribution, etc.) as well as the classification of the drug (cocaine, marijuana, heroin, etc.) and the amount of the drug. Federal sentencing guidelines begin with 43 base offense levels and add or subtract levels depending on certain specified criteria. The higher the offense level, the more severe the sentence imposed.