Though the election is months away, political campaigns are already heating up.
Recently the marijuana legalization debate took a turn when last week the "regulate Marijuana Campaign" started the process of filing an official complaint against the "Vote no on 2 Campaign. The complaint stems from a seemingly benign personal description.
Kristina Woolston often describes herself as a "volunteer spokesperson" for the 'Vote No on 2' campaign - that's the fight against the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska. Opponents who are working to legalize marijuana say if Woolston is a volunteer, that's a violation of rules set by APOC the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
In a letter to the APOC, the Regulate Marijuana campaign's treasurer, Chris Rempert accused Northwest Strategies of "violation and (possibly willful) deception of public trust. It claims that because Woolston is part owner of Northwest Strategies, she's either not properly accounting for her volunteer hours, or giving the campaign an unfair discount.
In an interview, Rempert said Friday, "If Kristina truly is a volunteer, then she is the most expensive volunteer in history."
In a written response to the accusation, 'Vote No on 2' said, "Kristina misspoke on one occasion and will clarify with APOC." The statement goes on to say that Woolston did *not conceal her ownership in northwest strategies - and claims compliance with all APOC rules.
In a phone conversation with Channel 2 News, an APOC spokesperson says the regulatory body can't comment on this specific case before it has reviewed all the details.
APOC rules are less stringent in some cases for a ballot initiative campaign as opposed to a political candidate's campaign. While the two groups may have differing interpretations of APOC law, both agree the APOC complaint moves the conversation away from marijuana.
'Vote No on 2''s statement said, "This is a distraction to divert attention from the severe damage this initiative will do to Alaska." Rempert argues calling it a distraction furthers the other sides agenda,
"By saying everything we do is a distraction," Rempert said. "Is to distract the Alaskan voters from the truth of this ballot measure."
The debate highlights the extreme tension between the two camps - both looking to voters for clarity in November - on a divisive issue that affects the state.