There is general recognition in law that not all crimes are created equal. As such, the punishment meted out if a person is convicted of a crime tends to adjust according to the level of the offense.
For example, under Minnesota law there are five degrees of controlled substance crime charges. At the top end of the list is the first-degree controlled substance allegation. It's further broken out according to whether the alleged crime involved just possession or the selling of illegal drugs.
At the low end of the scale are the fifth-degree controlled substance crime charges. Again, the law parses things out according to whether the alleged wrongdoing was a matter of possession or sale.
As you might expect, the punishment for a conviction of a first-degree controlled substance tends to be more severe than that for a fifth-degree charge conviction. But despite the broad range of possible charge degrees, there is one thing that is common to all of them. Each includes the possibility of time in prison and some level of fine.
But even the fifth-degree penalty is nothing to slough off. Conviction can bring up to a 5-year prison term and a fine of $100,000. Someone found guilty of a first-degree drug charge could incur a $1 million and a 30-year sentence.
What this reflects is the social view that drugs are a public scourge that impacts everyone, not just individuals. And action called for by the law means that anyone arrested on a drug offense should take the matter seriously. Contacting an attorney with experience in dealing with drug crime cases should always be step one.