Located just a short drive from downtown Bozeman, Montana, Lionheart Caregiving focuses on quality products, compassion and convenience. Since 2007, Lionheart has been providing customers with the highest class of medical cannabis in a comfortable, quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
Home of the original Montana Silvertip, they now carry more than 20 locally-sourced strains, as well as a variety of edibles, salves and tinctures. They’ve become a community favorite for producing some of the region’s most coveted, top-notch cannabis products and offering excellent care for their patients.
Medical marijuana became legalized in Montana in 2004 with the passage of voter initiative I-148. From 2007 to 2011, the industry rapidly expanded, until 2011 when the state legislature passed SB-423 — a bill severely restricting the sale of cannabis products. The bill sought to eviscerate the cannabis industry by making it illegal to sell cannabis to patients, regardless of the legal standing of marijuana as a medicine. Medical marijuana was legal, it said. Profiting from it was not. However, over time, the courts have blocked the implementation of large parts of SB-423, helping providers to continue to get medicine to patients, but leaving the future of the industry in limbo.
Against this complicated legal backdrop, Lionheart has continued to grow.
“Last year was probably our busiest year yet,” shop manager Zach Selvnick says. “We expect 2015 to be even better.”
Lionheart is committed to expanding the range of illnesses they can treat. This includes reinvesting profits to experiment with the use of CBDs and CBNs, finding new methods for the intake or application of cannabis and focusing on the use of multiple strains to treat patients.
Owner Chris Fanuzzi says it’s something a lot of customers don’t necessarily understand.
“You can use different strains at different times of day to get different results,” he explains. “Or, you can use multiple strains at the same time to get a different effect. There usually isn’t just one strain that will solve everything for a customer. Mixing it up can more effectively treat a variety of symptoms.”
Lionheart offers genuine care to each customer. From private, off-site consultations and deliveries to a sliding pay scale, helping customers gain access to medicine for the treatment of symptoms is the most important aspect of their business.
“Ultimately,” says Fanuzzi, “we want to make sure our patients have medicine, whether they’re short on money or out of money for some reason. Making sure they’re okay is the top priority.”
The emphasis on customer care is reflective in Lionheart’s overall ethos. Their vision is about more than profit — it’s about the well-being of the community as a whole. Like other local, small businesses, they create jobs, provide community outreach, give to local charities and try to help the community in any way they can — something opponents of Montana’s medical marijuana industry don’t always understand.
Since Lionheart’s inception, they’ve seen the range of customer illnesses and symptoms — along with their ability to treat them — greatly expand. Their knowledge base and the diversity of what they can treat is something they take pride in.
“We’ve seen patients with cancer go into remission without having to do chemo,” says Fanuzzi. “We’ve even had people with Alzheimer’s use our medicine and recall memories that they had long ago lost. It’s amazing.”
Montana hasn’t been the easiest place to make it as a medical cannabis provider. The ever-changing legislative currents in the state have kept the laws complicated or uncertain and has led to many shops shuttering their doors. Nevertheless, Lionheart perseveres and continues to thrive. Serving their customers with compassion and commitment is a priority. And it doesn’t hurt that their legendary Montana Silvertip is a killer, A-list strain that patients love.
1117 North 7th Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
By Joel Hathaway[Originally published in issue 14 of Cannabis Now Magazine]