The group looking to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska is making a sudden and apparently unexpected plea for money—and lots of it. 

According to a fund-raising email, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana needs $500,000 by May 1st.

The email goes on to say that NMM was counting on a major contribution but due to a “personal and tragic circumstance” that commitment has fallen through.

One of the group’s leaders, State Sen. Adam Morfeld, tells News Channel Nebraska they are “confident” they’ll come up with the needed funds to fill the gap.

According to NMM’s most recent state campaign filing and published reports, at the end of January the group had raised $68,000 in cash, spent $38,000, leaving it with $30,000 on hand.

Morfeld indicates the half a million would go to hire paid petition gatherers in order to make sure the drive does not come up short of the nearly 90,000 valid signatures needed by early July.

“It is possible, but very difficult, to qualify initiatives for the ballot without hiring a professional collection firm to help,” says Morfeld adding, “If any campaign can do it solely with a grassroots signature drive, it's ours. But we are working hard to raise additional funds to supplement that effort and put us in the best position to succeed.”

Gov. Pete Ricketts has been leading the charge against medical marijuana in Nebraska.