The California attorney general's office Friday authorized opponents to begin collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would ask voters to repeal the ban.
Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation in September imposing the first statewide ban on single-use shopping bags. Large stores must comply by July 2015.
If opponents collect 500,000 signatures by January, the ban would be put on hold until voters weigh in November 2016.
A coalition of plastic bag manufacturers is pushing the referendum.
The American Progressive Bag Alliance says the ban will cost jobs.
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