Have a Heart Cincy, the first medical marijuana dispensary in Cincinnati's city limits and the largest dispensary in Ohio, is now open in Hartwell. What makes it unique is it's owned and operated by members of a church congregation.
General Manager Darius Bobo says a handful of members of New Prospect Baptist Church have invested thanks to the vision of Rev. Damon Lynch, III.
"We had a whole congregation of people who we presented the idea to and it ended up being eight unique individuals to say they want to be a part of it," Bobo says. "So they just took a leap of faith."
The building housing Have a Heart Cincy, at 8420 Vine Street, is 9,000-square feet. Bobo says the actual dispensary is 4-5,000-square feet. Once inside, there are nine stations customers can go to for help.
Bobo calls it a "ministry of medicine."
"We have an older population in church - so people dealing with arthritis, chronic pain - and you don't have to always use opioids to address the situation."
Forty-two-year-old customer Jared Perry says he's been sharing his experiences at other dispensaries with Have a Heart Cincy. The retired, disabled man lives just five minutes away in Lockland.
Perry says he was in bad shape before he started using medical marijuana. "I just used to be on a lot of painkillers and opiates and the aftermath was not working for me," he says. "I was on such a high dose that my wife would come home and find me on the floor."
Perry says medical marijuana is working to effectively manage his pain.