WINTERSVILLE — At only 28 years old, local businessman Michael Petrella may be the youngest sole owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in the country, according to Marijuana Venture Magazine, which chose to feature him in its “40 under 40 Rising: Stars of Cannabis” issue.

“They said I am one of, if not the, youngest single owners in the country,” Petrella said.

When Petrella, who is the owner and CEO of Ohio Valley Natural Relief, was first approached about the magazine, he said he was skeptical. “They called on our land (phone) line,” he said. “I thought it was a joke at first. I told them to send it in an e-mail and then they did.”

Petrella said the magazine told him the fact he was one of the youngest business owners was only one of the things that caught the writer’s eye. He said they were impressed that Petrella, who actually was awarded his license at 26, was one of the first in the state of Ohio and one of the only independent owners.

“I was one of the only local ones,” he said.

He said his journey to become an owner and advocate of the medical benefits of the drug started while his father was fighting cancer. Petrella said his father was allergic to many narcotics and suffered serious side effects from others. Petrella wanted to find a safe alternative for his father.

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