There are several points that determine how you are going to be charged when you are facing a drug charge. One of the points that matters is the classification of the drug. There are five schedules of drugs that the legal system uses. These are numbered from one to five, with one being the ones that are classified as having legitimate use and five being the ones that aren't considered as hardcore as the higher schedules.
Interestingly, the federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug. This means that the government doesn't see any use for the drug and has completely outlawed it. Heroin is also classified in this schedule.
Now that you know marijuana is a schedule I drug, you might wonder where some of the other illegal drugs are classified. Drugs like methadone are considered schedule II drugs, which means that these drugs have legitimate medical uses; however, they are highly regulated because of the likelihood that they will be abused and are addictive.
Narcotics also fall under the controlled substances schedules. The schedule they are placed in depends on how addictive they are and how likely people are to misuse them. This is why you have to show a photo identification card when you go to get a prescription of these types of drugs. This includes pain killers and cough syrups that contain codeine.
This gives you an idea of the purpose these schedules play in the criminal justice system. Knowing how this impacts your case might help you to determine how you should handle your defense. Under no circumstances should you ever just ignore the charges that you are facing.
Source: FindLaw, "Drug Classifications," accessed May 12, 2017