By Steve Large

MODESTO (CBS13) — A Modesto marijuana dispensary owner whose store was targeted by armed robbers, is now facing charges himself.

Cops say he was running an illegal dispensary, out of a store advertised as a bike shop.

His pot shop was robbed, and now he’s under arrest. Modesto Police say Paul Canto can’t sell marijuana here, or anywhere within the Modesto city limits where dispensaries are banned.

Canto’s Coffee Road dispensary is empty now after police closed it down and seized $40,000 of medical marijuana Canto was carrying in a traffic stop.

Canto said he was moving his store when he was stopped and that he was carrying a California medical marijuana license.

“I had all my proper paperwork to transport all that medicine,” Canto said. “It was all documented, everything was all documented, all inventoried.”

Cops call Canto’s storefront deceptive. Signs advertising bicycle repair actually belonged to the business previously occupying the shop.

Police were alerted to the dispensary location when a parent walking children outside reported the armed robbery.

“And that’s pretty scary, especially when someone is running around the streets wielding a gun, and their children are nearby,” Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Heather Graves said.

The illegal pot shop shared a retail mall with children’s martial arts and gymnastics

Elisa Branch says the pot shop odor reached into her studio where she has classes for children as young as 5.

“Our air conditioning system all links together, so it actually came through my building,” Branch said. “And my building was stinking like pot. What are you supposed to do when the people downstairs are selling it out of their place.”


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