What Is Drug Dealing?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 January 2020
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Drug dealing is a crime that involves the unauthorized sale of certain consumable substances, such as marijuana and heroin. The severity of this crime generally depends upon factors such as the type of substance, the amount that a person is caught selling or attempting to sell, and the jurisdiction where the commits the offense. In many instances, conviction results in a felony and individuals may be incarcerated for first offenses. Some countries have even harsher penalties that allow capital punishment for these cases.

A drug dealer is a person who sells controlled substances. People tend to think of drug dealers solely as individuals who sell illicit drugs, sometimes referred to as street drugs. The unauthorized sale of prescription medication can also be classified as drug dealing and is a major problem in some communities. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the penalties for these offenses can be just as severe as those for the dealing of street drugs.

Drug dealing is a problem that has severe effects on many communities. The economic impact is often visible in the degeneration of the standard of living for the consumers and the rapid improvement in the quality of living for the drug dealers. This crime also reveals the disparities in many criminal justice systems, since in some jurisdictions, minorities are disproportionately convicted.


The penalties for drug dealing depend on the circumstances of the case, but they can be harsh. One factor that commonly affects the severity of the crime is the type of substance that a person sold. Some substances are considered more dangerous than others and are, therefore, subject to more severe consequences.

Quantity of the drug in possession can also play a major role in the treatment of this crime. In some instances, the sale of small amounts is only considered a minor crime. All jurisdictions have at least some type of drug dealing offense. Since the definition of the crime can vary, the penalties also tend to widely vary. Punishments can include community service, fines, and incarceration. In some places, such as Yemen and China, drug dealing can be a capital offense and the guilty parties may be executed.

In some jurisdictions, the majority of cases against drug dealers are handled by way of plea bargaining. This is a process that involves the accused making some type of deal with the prosecutor. That deal could involve pleading guilty to a reduced charge or it may involve avoiding incarceration by providing information about other criminal activities.


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Post 1

Drug dealing is a very catch all term that refers to lots of different behaviors, all of them illegal. Drug dealing can be someone standing on a street corner doing five dollar transactions, or it can be someone in a giant mansion who has planes full of drugs shipped across international borders.

But I think more often than not a drug dealer is considered to be a small time criminal. They sell small amounts of drugs and make modest amounts of money. People who are higher up in the food chain are often called drug lords or drug kingpins. They don't really sell drugs themselves, they are in charge of drug selling networks. It is a minor semantic difference but probably one to keep in mind.

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