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Ernie Rogalsky

Dealer plea bargains, wife's charges dropped

Ernie Rogalsky

A pot dealer and legalization activist has until November to save up nearly $20,000 to pay reparations for his conviction before he goes to jail.

"I guess they're going to feed and water me for a while beginning in November," Ernest John Rogalsky said outside Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday.

"This is like putting away Santa Claus. I've never hurt anybody in my life. I might as well be a hit man or a child molester - they get less than a pot head."

Rogalsky, who has a long history of convictions for dealing pot, pleaded guilty Tuesday to six counts of trafficking marijuana. He also pleaded guilty to one count of having $19,610 in proceeds from his crimes. His specific sentence will be fixed Nov. 14.

In return for his plea the Crown dropped similar charges against his wife, Loreto Mary Johnson, 44.

Rogalsky, 47, will be sentenced to a combination of jail time and probation in November. He will get extra jail time if he doesn't have the money he collected from an RCMP informant, who was paid about $10,000 to set him up.

The Watrous-area man sold pot on several occasions in late 1997 and early 1998 to the former friend in the Manitou Beach and Plunkett areas.

On the front steps of the courthouse Rogalsky said one of the reasons he pleaded guilty was to get his wife off the hook.

"At least one of us is free, but I had to eat everything," he said. Rogalsky, who has a history of convictions for dealing pot, founded a Saskatchewan chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

His goal is to lobby the government for a change to marijuana laws. His wife will run the organization while he is in jail.

Rogalsky estimated that a quarter of the people living around the Watrous area smoke marijuana.

"We need to kill the myths that have surrounded marijuana that have been around for the past 30 years. It almost takes a revolution to change things because the government is ignoring the issue."