The person in charge of the provincial liquor distribution branch, whose portfolio now includes B.C. first public recreational marijuana store in Kamloops, earned nearly a quarter-million in 2017-18. Black Press File.

Provincial liquor boss soaked up almost $250,000 in total compensation

Executive in charge of cannabis operations earned $8,883 for less than a month’s work in 2017-18

The executive in charge of the provincial liquor distribution branch, now also responsible for the sale of recreational marijuana, earned almost $250,000 in 2017-18.

Robert Blain Lawson, general manager and chief executive officer of the Liquor Distribution Branch, earned $243,774, according to public sector compensation disclosure statements. The three executives below Lawson earned a total of $491,599, according to those documents.

Notably, Michael Tan, executive director for cannabis operations, earned $8,883 in fiscal year 2017-18. So what is behind the low figure? The provincial government had not hired Tan until March 5, 2018 — so shortly before the end of the fiscal year on March 31, 2018.

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Recreational marijuana became legal across Canada on Oct. 17 but retail access to marijuana remains hazy.

The provincial government currently operates one public store in Kamloops and has issued one private retail license. Many communities including several in the Greater Victoria region have either not yet created the legislative framework for future retail operations, or banned recreational sales outright, prompting fears that the black market will continue to thrive.

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The provincial government, however, sells recreational marijuana through an online platform, and the government has forwarded a number of private applications to local government for comment with more said to open in the coming “weeks and months” according to David Eby, attorney general.


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