Under Senate Bill 649, local prosecutors would have discretion to decide whether a person charged with possessing a small amount of illegal drugs should be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.
"It gives district attorneys more authority than they have today," said Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat who wrote the bill.
The Senate passed the bill today on a concurrence vote of 23-13. It now heads to the governor for consideration.
PHOTO: Sen. Mark Leno in 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.