I do not think so Jim Belushi was high as we spoke on Zoom this week. Instead of a joint, he blew on a cigar, but he was still happy and smiling.
“I have my brother’s face on it. I have the Blues Brothers brand. That must be some good shit, man.
Jim Belushi was telling me about his weed, especially the small 0.7 gram pre-rolls he sells – the perfect size for the post-COVID era, when passing a joint to a friend is probably discouraged. Belushi started his farm with 48 cannabis plants in 2015. Today, six years and a pandemic later, there are 200 plants in each of his four high-tech greenhouses along the Rogue River in southern India. ‘Oregon.
“I’m always on the hunt for magic,” Belushi said.
We were talking about his new greenhouses provided in part by GrowGeneration, but Belushi couldn’t help but gush about the benefits of cannabis. More than a celebrity with a cannabis brand, Belushi is a fully engaged cannabis advocate.
“It’s magic when I do the Blues Brothers,” he says. “And I chase magic on a movie set when I’m playing, and I chase magic when I’m singing.” I mean, I’m always chasing magic, and I’m going to do this cannabis business because there is magic here.
Belushi is one of a recent group of celebrities diving deep into the cannabis world. And he’s not shy about it. Look at his imprint on social media. Belushi’s Twitter name is “Cannabis producer: Jim Belushi. Her TikTok and Instagram feeds are full of clips from her farm. He even has a Discovery TV series on his farm: “Growing Belushi”.
Cannabis is Belushi’s life right now. He even recently turned down a role in a movie because filming would take place in the fall, during harvest time. His agent did not approve of passing up the opportunity and told Belushi he was representing actors, not farmers. But according to Jim, growing cannabis is more important than taking action.
“I’m a cross between Elmer Fudd and Bill Murray,” Belushi admits. Like Murray in “Caddyshack,” Belushi is just good enough to be dangerous. He has been on the farm for over 200 days in the past year. In his eyes, this is what sets him apart from other celebrity cannabis farms.
Growing cannabis is more than a branding game for Belushi. Clearly he’s not just trading his credibility and his work for a big check; he is on the farm, works the land and takes care of the heads he takes care of.
“My hand is in the soil,” he says, explaining that he works the soil, making sure the pH is right and the soil is at the right temperature. He cares for, smells, tests and tastes his harvest.
“You know, my name is on it, my brother’s name is on it, and I’m not just throwing it in there,” Belushi said. “I am really a farmer and I love this job.”
Help Mother Nature
Like many growers, Belushi turned to technology to control pests and increase yields. A team from GrowGeneration has equipped their farm with the products needed to mitigate pests and improve quality. He says what they sold for $ 1,000 a pound a year ago is now selling for $ 2,200 a pound, and points out that the improved cultivation facility is an important factor.
Jeremy Corrao, vice president of business operations at GrowGeneration, says the cannabis industry benefits from a range of new technologies that allow operators to see a faster return on their investments. He cites new lighting technology as an example.
“We are seeing the greatest number of people moving from low energy efficiency solutions to low energy solutions,” said Corrao, explaining that the industry still has skeptics who shy away from new technologies. Still, he says it lowers the cost of goods and improves ROI.
Corrao explains that the functions and practices found in the agricultural industry are finally making their way to cannabis growers such as Belushi.
Yet even with new greenhouses equipped with automated systems, some growers like Jim Belushi still rely on nature for help.
“[Belushi’s Farm] is in southern Oregon with 192 days of sunshine, ”Belushi said, emphasizing his love for the area. Plus, his new greenhouses rely on the Oregon sun and still offer localized climate control and pest control, meaning he can have four growth cycles per year. This hybrid approach forgoes a closed climate system in favor of something that works in Belushi’s world.
More than a brand image
As legalization draws closer, growers are constantly looking for an edge amid more competition – better soil, faster harvest cycles, new strains – and Belushi lives up to her name.
“Has the name Belushi always been associated with the pot?” I ask Jim. I think back to the days of her late brother, John Belushi, the still active and still authentic star of the ’70s and’ 80s. After all, substances were drenched, smoked and regularly sniffed in those days, and John Belushi was a manic presence. in much of 1980s comedy.
“No potty, but fun,” he said after thinking. Jim pays homage to his brother John for launching the Belushi brand in 1975. For him, the Belushi brand represents “trying to make people feel good with a sense of humor or fun”.
Check out Belushi’s Farm brands: Blues Brothers, Belushi’s Secret Stash, and Captain Jack, named after the OG weed merchant from the early days of Saturday Night Live. Each of these brands also offers strains that are true to Jim Belushi’s perspective on its name. There’s hardly anything on offer with THC levels that would be considered gas (i.e. things that really get you high), but each one offers respectable characteristics. It’s by design.
“My business has more to do with great blends of terpenes and THC,” Belushi said. “[This is] to further create a medicinal effect that sends someone on the road to recovery. He added, laughing, he has a few stumps he hasn’t smoked. He is afraid of them. Likewise, he considers some of the strains offered by other celebrities to be ready to tear and roar thanks to the extremely high THC levels. He hasn’t tried them either.
I ask him why he thinks it’s exciting and newsworthy when celebrities launch a cannabis brand. Belushi isn’t the only one doing this. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have just launched Houseplant in the United States, a cannabis brand offering dried flowers and home products. There’s Jay-Z with his premium cannabis brand, Monogram. Even Martha Stewart sells cannabis, albeit in gummy CBD form.
Belushi is hesitant to compare his product to his famous competitors (likely related to his self-identification as a grower), but points out that Snoop and Willy’s original celebrity jar brands lead the way for him and others.
The failed war on drugs
New regulations are rapidly changing the cannabis industry. As more states decriminalize and regulate cannabis, different segments of the industry are looking to the federal government to loosen its grip on the cannabis trade.
For Belushi, access to traditional banking services would have an immediate impact on him and the industry as a whole. And it could happen soon: Two weeks ago, the US House of Representatives passed a banking bill with broad bipartisan support.
“It’s a very exciting time in the cannabis world,” Belushi said. “People have seen changes in other people [who partake in cannabis]. Tumors shrink, seizures stop, people sleep, and people get better. It’s interesting because, no matter if you are conservative or liberal or old or young, everyone knows someone who has suffered deeply.
“Cannabis is not a gateway to drugs,” Belushi said. “It is a path to recovery.”
And yet there are countless people in prison because of this so-called healing path. Jim Belushi also works there.
“Bring them out,” Jim shouted when I spoke about the current goals of the Last Prisoner Project. He talks about those who are incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes. For Belushi, who helps the cannabis activist group, this is a serious effort.
“It’s time to shift some energy towards real justice,” Belushi said with deep passion. “Look at the project of the last prisoner. It truly is a symbol that the war on drugs is over. It is done. It’s ruined. The war on drugs has ruined us. This ruined the black and brown communities, which were particularly affected.
“Don’t get me started,” Belushi warned, as he laughed and calmed down.
The Last Prisoner Project was founded in 2019 by Steve DeAngelo and seeks to reform criminal justice related to cannabis. The organization is made up of activists, lawyers, advocates and others, including Belushi, who is an advisor. It is clear that he has a deep respect for the founder and leader of the Last Prisoner Project, Steve DeAngelo. “There is no better con artist in the world than Steve DeAngelo,” he said. “Dude, he’s just relentless, and it’s beautiful to watch.”
Belushi says the project is riding a wave right now and that they are seeing more and more state attorneys general responding to their calls. But there are still needs, he says. The project can still use capital, as much of the work is done free of charge. And there is a constant need for people to write letters and sign petitions – all of which are readily available on the project’s website here.
“And it would be great if the people of [cannabis] the industry hires those who come out, ”Belushi said, calling on the industry to step up and help“ these men and women who have been in jail for so long ”.
He is not simply suggesting it as a course of action for others; it also actively helps to raise capital. The Blues Brothers are organizing a fundraiser at MJ Unpacked next October in Las Vegas. Belushi, actor, comedian, weed grower and member of the Blues Brothers beamed as he spoke about playing for the Last Prisoner Project.
“We’re going to have a big party there,” he said, “and we’re going to raise a lot of money too.”
Because everyone needs someone to love.