Jim Belushi Talks Cannabis Ahead Of Fireside Chat In Barcelona
This year’s International Cannabis Business Conference event in Barcelona will feature a one-on-one fireside chat with acclaimed entertainer Jim Belushi. Jim Belushi is a man of many talents – actor, singer, comedian, dancer, and now a legal cannabis farmer. We asked Belushi a series of cannabis questions ahead of his appearance in Barcelona and below is what he had to say:
JG: You have accomplished so much over the years as a multi-faceted entertainer. Now you are a proud cannabis farmer – how does farming cannabis compare to your other pursuits?
Belushi: They both have a lot in common. They both are on a mission to make people feel good, whether you’re making them laugh in a comedy or performing the Blues Brothers and filling their souls with music, or giving them cannabis to heal their anxieties, hopelessness, pain…. or just making them feel good and euphoric. The entertainment industry and the cannabis industry don’t hurt anybody. You can’t overdose if you laugh too much and you can’t overdose if you smoke too much pot. You may pass out if you eat too much of an edible, and I may have peed my pants from laughing too hard (especially at John Candy movies). But all in all, I’ve been at my business for 40 years and cannabis for 6 and they both have the same purpose — making people feel a little bit better. So I feel like I’m on track. They’re the same medicine.
JG: Belushi’s Farm is located in Southern Oregon. What made you decide to choose that region?
Belushi: Southern Oregon chose me. My friend has a beautiful ranch down the Rogue River that I used to visit with my family twice a year. I went into the river naked one time and came out baptized, with a new spiritual release. I said to my friend, “Do you know of any other properties around here?” And that was it. I didn’t know Southern Oregon was the premiere spot to grow cannabis at the time… I was brought to Southern Oregon.
JG: In addition to flower, what types of products does your company make?
Belushi: We are in pursuit of various skus and manufactured products. We just released a 5mg Blues Brothers ice cream in Massachusetts. We have a Captain Jack’s vape pen exclusively in Oregon (at this point). We have a great collaboration with Bhang Chocolate for the Blues Brothers chocolates. We have a collaboration with Glazed Edibles, a high end, premium product that’s full spectrum in nature in Oklahoma. We are experimenting with a different type of edible in Pennsylvania. We are mainly known for our Blues Brothers Baby Blues, a six pack of .25 joints, our Blues Brothers .7 flip top box of five joints, and our Captain Jack’s full gram and Chasing Magic full gram prerolls.
JG: What markets are they available in? Do you have plans to expand to other continents?
Belushi: As of this writing, we are available in Oregon, Oklahoma, and Colorado. By the end of the second quarter, we will be in Michigan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and of course our Bhang Chocolates are extended in many states.
JG: What is your personal cannabis consumption regimen?
Belushi: I’m a microdoser. It’s medicine to me. I take 2.5-5mg of the Blues Brothers Bhang Chocolate to help me sleep. I’ll smoke a little Cherry Pie at the end of the day to help me with the transition into the evening. It’s medicine to me…”This medicine is so good, people take it FOR the side effects.”
JG: What was your experience like making your hit show ‘Growing Belushi’ on the Discovery Channel? How did that cannabis-focused project compare to other projects you have worked on?
Belushi: This is a big question and deserves its own essay. But in short, all the other projects I’ve been involved with in show business have been scripted. Growing Belushi was all improvised, every scene, every moment. That takes a lot of concentration, a lot of wit, a lot of trust in your own ability, and a lot of overshooting to pull together an hour show each week. But that being said, it’s rewarding and joyous and fun when you’re able to create everything in the show. I love it.
JG: What have you learned from visiting dispensaries in Oregon and beyond?
Belushi: I visit a lot of dispensaries. In Oregon, I actually deliver to dispensaries and I do personal appearances and meet & greets. I have learned 85% of what I know about cannabis from these visits and experiences, which has changed this from a business to a journey to the pathway to healing. There are people, so many people, in need of medicine. From the veterans with PTSD, quadriplegics with spasms, people with shattered bones from car accidents, people with MS, dementia, sleeplessness, cancer on chemotherapy…the list goes on and on. In the dispensaries, I realized this was no longer just a business, it was necessary for the health of our community, for the people who suffer, the people who struggle, the people who are screaming inside the cavity of their bodies. I personally don’t use Ambien or Xanax for anxiety or even Advil. And I don’t really drink. Cannabis has replaced all these needs. I see a community growing larger in the pursuit of using cannabis as a substitute for medications and alcohol and opiates. I have been moved to tears many times.
JG: What advice do you have for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs?
Belushi: My advice to aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs is to stay out. The margins aren’t there yet. Between the fluctuation of the pricing of the pounds, the taxing, the banking, and the amount of initial capital, I would say don’t do it. Unless your passion overrides your pocketbook.
JG: What is the best way for folks to keep up on all of your cannabis industry pursuits?
About Jim Belushi, Founder of Belushi’s Farm
Jim Belushi is the founder of Belushi’s Farm cannabis, where his sprawling and spiritual 93 acres along the Rogue River plays home to a range of offerings—from Chasing Magic (Jim’s Secret Stash), to The Blues Brothers, to Captain Jack’s Gulzar Afghanica, a rare strain from the Hindu Kush region that became known in the ’70s as “The Smell of SNL,” and now GROWING BELUSHI, a series on Discovery. GROWING BELUSHI takes Discovery’s audiences inside Jim’s world and shows the incredible effort it takes to build a legal cannabis operation. Having suffered the loss of his brother John to an overdose and his own journey, learning and healing through cultivating cannabis, Jim’s a passionate proponent of the plant’s beneficial properties across a spectrum of uses. From enhancing joy and quality of life, mitigating trauma and managing pain, to a harm reduction approach and rebuttal of the opioid abuse epidemic, Jim advocates for patient rights and adult-use legalization while empowering craft farmers to thrive in economies of scale.
A seasoned Second City and Saturday Night Live alumni, Jim has starred in a selection of critically acclaimed movies ranging from Trading Places to Wonder Wheel, working with famed directors like Oliver Stone, Roman Polanski, David Lynch and Michael Mann. He’s also served as an executive producer, music composer, director, book author, and Broadway star. His own television show, According to Jim, aired for 182 episodes during eight seasons with the family favorite launching into off-net syndication. Along with Larry Joe Campbell and other talented Second City alum, Jim Belushi and the Board of Comedy perform improv sketch comedy at colleges, clubs, performing arts centers and venues nationwide. And, together with Dan Aykroyd, Jim tours the globe as Brother Zee of the iconic Blues Brothers. Additionally, Jim headlines his own music group The Sacred Hearts, which is the official house band for the House of Blues brand of venues.
With 42 years in the public eye and Jim’s professional career further inspired by the beauty and healing power of cannabis, Jim is actively engaged in several projects benefiting the region around Belushi’s Farm and beyond. In Medford, Jim is helping reconstruct the historic Holly Theater to bring the 1930s Spanish Colonial movie palace back to life as Southern Oregon’s largest indoor concert venue. In Eagle Point, Jim is assisting with the reconstruction of The Butte Creek Mill, destroyed in a 2016 electrical fire, to preserve its heritage, build community, and improve the environment. And where Jim looks to have the most profound impact, he’s working vigorously with scientists and the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission and Portland City Council to create an opioid trade program where Veterans, the infirmed, downtrodden and addicted can have a place for healing for low to no cost. Additionally, Jim’s on the board of the Last Prisoner Project, a coalition of cannabis industry leaders, executives and artists dedicated to bringing restorative justice to the cannabis industry.
In the words of Dan Aykroyd, “If John had been a pothead, he’d still be alive today.”
(photo credit: Tyler Maddox)