Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2016 6:00 pm |Updated: 6:31 pm, Sat Jan 23, 2016.
LINCOLN — People around the State Capitol last year knew them simply as “the moms.”
The cadre of mothers, often with chronically sick children in tow, made emotional and compelling pleas for a bill legalizing medical marijuana in Nebraska. It was an impressive citizens campaign by a group formally known as Nebraska Families 4 Medical Cannabis.
The bill, carried over from last year, will likely come up for a critical second round of debate in the next month or so. The moms and their kids will be back at the Capitol.
But this year, they hired some help.
The group agreed to pay $40,000 to Radcliffe & Associates, one of the leading lobbying firms in the state. Shari Lawlor of Valley, one of the group’s members, said that if the legislation fails, medical cannabis supporters intend to launch a voter petition drive that could cost about $1.5 million.
“Forty-thousand dollars isn’t all that much compared to $1.5 million,” she said.
Whether or not the medical marijuana bill passes, the competition for votes has already generated economic activity around the Capitol.
In an effort to swing votes for the bill, a medical cannabis manufacturer in Minnesota has paid $25,000 to hire Heartland Strategy Group, a firm with offices in Lincoln, Omaha and Washington.