Jim Belushi is in a good mood. Is it the cannabis that he says he microdoses? Or is it that he’s too happy with his life to complain? He assures me it’s because he’s in Chicago to watch the Cubs’ opening day game, which they won. The next day, he says, he’ll sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at Wrigley Field during the seventh inning stretch.
But is he ready?
“Um, let me see if I remember the words. It’s, ‘Take me out to the ball game.’ That’s it, right?” He laughs.
Belushi is an alum of the famous Chicago-based improv troupe Second City, is a Saturday Night Live former cast member and was the star of sitcom According to Jim. And he’s the younger brother of the late John Belushi, whose party-hard and rowdy character in Animal House is likely still influencing male college students today.
Belushi has a new role. He’s a cannabis advocate and southern Oregon weed farmer who jokes that he’s still “paying tuition” in learning the craft. But he’s having fun with the learning curve on his Discovery Plus show Growing Belushi, which he says was recently renewed for a third season.
“We have a boutique farm that produces some of the most beautiful cannabis,” Belushi says.
Belushi’s 93-acre farm is located in Eagle Point off the Rogue River. He registered his business Belushi’s Farm in 2018 with the Oregon Secretary of State and runs the farm with his cousin, Chris Karakosta.
The farm has a 40,000-square-foot outdoor canopy and a 10,000-square-foot canopy indoors. A canopy is the square footage of plant production, and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission regulates cannabis growing by canopy size. Belushi has reconfigured his farm, moving some of his growing from outdoors to a greenhouse, he says. Growing indoors and with a greenhouse allows the farm to grow year-round rather than one season outdoors, he adds.
“It’s not the ’49 Gold Rush,” Belushi says. “Growing cannabis, there are hard lessons every day. It is farming, and I have the greatest respect for farmers and our American farmers. Whether they’re growing soybeans or cannabis, there’s aphids, russet mites, mold, deer and squirrels. I feel like Elmer Fudd and Bill Murray from Caddyshack.”
But Belushi says that life on the farm has made him fall in love with growing and what comes with it: his feet in the soil, sun on his back and the plants watered from the river. Watering his plants with the Rogue River’s water for half the year, he adds, is like giving plants Fiji water.
Belushi has used his farm as a TV show setting, whether it was a series on him building a house on the farm for the DIY Network or the current Growing Belushi. “We improvise the whole thing,” Belushi says. “I’m a trained actor from Second City, so we’re writing it as we go. It’s a ball. And we keep it honest about our industry.”
The show is the only series on TV that takes a look at what it’s like to work in the cannabis industry, he says. It captures what it takes to grow cannabis — the nutrients, cleanliness and being pesticide-free. “My dream is to create confidence in the audience, so they’ll use a rub on their knee if it hurts or take a little piece of chocolate if they’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious,” he says.
Belushi’s run as a cast member on SNL in the ’80s may not be remembered as well as his brother’s run in the late ’70s, but his products pay homage to the revolutionary late night show with names like the Blues Brothers and Captain Jack.
But who is Captain Jack? Belushi says he was a tuna fisherman and weed dealer in the 1970s. He farmed in an Afghan village named Mazar-i-Sharif near the foothills of Kush Mountains. To thank him for his work, the villagers gave him a bag of their seeds. He took those seeds back to the U.S. and grew weed.
“He used to be the weed dealer for SNL,” Belushi says. “They would smoke it when they were writing, and the hallways were filled with smoke. And it was very pungent. They called Captain Jack ‘the smell of SNL.’” Belushi says Dan Aykroyd introduced them to each other, and now his farm has the exclusive rights to grow from Captain Jack’s seeds.
Belushi says the farm recently harvested a whole greenhouse of the Captain Jack bud. Whether the product will lead users to write comedic material as funny as Coneheads, Mr. Bill or Samurai Futaba, he says the only way to find out is to try it when it’s available to buy in late April.
Although Belushi is a cannabis farmer, he says he’s a lightweight, so he takes a microdose approach with cannabis. When he microdoses, he says he’ll take a THC chocolate at bed and occasional hits throughout the day. “It has soothed my PTSD, calmed me down, made me more peaceful, more generous, more compassionate and more kind,” he says. “The wellness of cannabis is a pathway for Alzhiemer’s, dementia, back pain, sleeplessness and hopelessness.”
Alcohol, he says, is destructive on people’s lives and bodies. But weed is relatively safer for the liver, for example. “I was a bouncer, and I always say that I never broke up a fight between two potheads,” he laughs.
And the plant helps people enjoy the more minute things in life, he adds.
“It also enhances the taste of food, the sound of music, the touch of your lover’s skin — and it makes you feel good,” he says. “You’re smoking the light of father sun. It’s a spiritual plant; it’s medicine.”
Like many Oregonians, Belushi moved to Oregon from California — Los Angeles to be exact — but he says since moving here, his life has changed and he has never been happier. And that he’s long had a soft spot for the state, especially Eugene. “Eugene made my brother John a movie star,” he says, referencing John Belushi’s role in Animal House. “And that’s where he learned the blues from Curtis Salgado. Eugene is all right with me.”
When he started his farm, Belushi says Oregonians welcomed him and offered him advice for growing. One of those growers is from Eugene, he says. Shane Kramer of Cannaessentials taught him about live soil, he remembers.
But he says his products — despite the SNL references — didn’t become an overnight success just because of his last name. “Oregon doesn’t give a shit about names,” Belushi says. “It’s either good or not. It’s taken me a few years to earn the respect of the cannabis consumer in Oregon. I’m grateful that they enjoy my cannabis for their medical needs and needs of enjoyment, which is medicine, too.”
Learn more about Jim Belushi’s farm and products at BelushisFarm.com.