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Plastic Industry's Unusual Strategy Against California's Bag Ban

Jae C. Hong / AP
 

Jae C. Hong / AP

Californians could see two plastic bag measures on next November’s ballot, in a bid that could divide supporters of a statewide ban on their bags in grocery stores.

Plastic companies already qualified one ballot measure to overturn the ban. This week they were cleared to gather signatures on a second initiative. It says, if the ban stands, grocers can’t keep revenues from paper and reusable bags. Instead the money goes into an environmental fund.

Political consultant Mike Madrid says grocers, who support the ban, now have to worry it could cost them.

"It’s kind of like a political jiu-jitsu move. You increase the likelihood of your own money being taken away from you," Madrid says.

Madrid says the initiative’s either genius, too cute to work, or revenge.

"Are they simply trying to prevent the grocers from financially benefiting from the legislation that potentially kills their industry?" Madrid asks.

Madrid thinks that’s most likely. Polls show Californians favor the ban for environmental reasons.