VICTORIA -- Alex Robb, the general manager of Trees cannabis dispensary stores on Vancouver Island, is facing a $1.5-million fine.

The provincial government handed Robb the fine last month after shutting down two of the cannabis chain's stores this past summer.

Robb has been given 30 days to decide whether to sign a waiver acknowledging the stores were breaking the law. If he does so, his fine will be reduced to $775,000.

He’s not sure what he’ll do, but says he thinks it’s unfair he and the store are being targeted.

He says various other cannabis stores were operating illegally in the so-called "grey market" after legalization, and haven’t suffered any penalty.

Robb admits he had anticipated a fine, but nothing this large.

He says he can’t afford it, and wants to find a way to put the situation behind him.

Trees' eight stores, located in Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver, all closed in August 2019.

Robb says there are plans to try reopening them once the company gets a licence.