Actor, singer, dancer, comedian — Jim Belushi has been many things throughout his life. Since 2015, he's also been a cannabis farmer and in his new reality TV show, Growing Belushi, he gives viewers a peek into his agricultural endeavors.
"It's really about what I learn about the industry, what I learn about the plants, what I learn about myself," he told Cheddar. "It's a family show in a weird way. It's not called 'Growing Cannabis,' it's called Growing Belushi, so there's a lot that I've learned through this process."
His toughest lesson? Pests.
Gophers, squirrels, grasshoppers, aphids — Belushi had no idea he'd have quite so many uninvited guests on his farm. Then, there's the mold. In spite of all the trouble, Belushi said it's worth it.
"It's a tough business, agriculture, but it's a beautiful, rewarding one, too," he said.
Belushi started growing cannabis on a swathe of land in Oregon in 2015 after a spiritual experience in Oregon's Rogue River, The Oregonian reported. What started as a 48-plant crop has since grown to cover a sprawling 93 acres. Growing Belushi, which debuted on Discover last month, mostly follows the titular character as he runs his cannabis business. Viewers will notice it's a family affair, though, with appearances from his sister-in-law, Judy Belushi-Pisano, and his long-time Blues Brothers partner and friend Dan Aykroyd.
"I've been a cheerleader for this enterprise since the beginning, just because I've seen so much benefit that CBD oil brought my Dad," who used the products in his later years, Aykroyd told Cheddar. "I believe that Judy and Jimmy are onto a wonderful worldwide crusade, truly a mission to create alternative for pain relief and for all kinds of things that we're finding cannabinoids do perform in service of the positive advancement of humankind — psychologically, and medically, and emotionally."
The Blues Brothers film turned 40 years-old on June 20 and has managed to maintain a cult following worldwide in the decades since its release. Aykroyd attributed its lasting popularity to the sincerity with which he and Jim's late brother, John Belushi, created a stage for the legendary Black artists who appeared in it.
The film represented the first feature film appearance for soul legend Aretha Franklin, as well as for blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Lee Hooker, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. It also featured performances by James Brown and Ray Charles, among others.
"At our great young age, in our mid-twenties, we were earnest in our crusade to honor these wonderful, venerable African American performers, writers, and musicians — kind of build a tribute stage to them — because that's what we grew up with," he said. "They understood what we were doing, and they came on and approved what we were doing. That approval was most satisfying."
On the 40th anniversary of the Blues Brothers, Belushis Farm announced a partnership with Chicago-based Grassroots Cannabis. Together, they created limited edition Blues Brothers-branded cannabis that will be sold exclusively at Grassroots' new flagship dispensary in Skokie, Illinois. Belushi said the partnership made sense because he was on the same page as Grassroots co-founder Mitch Kahn about the message and mission of cannabis.
"He's from Chicago, he gets it," Belushi said. "We are very simpatico about the message."
As for Blues Brothers, Belushi said it makes perfect sense as a cannabis brand in part because of all of its potential medicinal applications. In the years since Belushi started growing cannabis, he has become a passionate advocate for its potential therapeutic applications for conditions like chronic pain.
"Blues Brothers is a true brand of cannabis because it represents music and the joy music brings — it represents the mischievousness, the fun," he said. "And the most important thing [is] it's a mission from God."