Jim Belushi is far from the first celebrity to get into the legal pot game. Stoned luminaries like Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Tommy Chong, and the Marley family are selling pot with their names on it in multiple states across the country. But Belushi is doing something different. Those other celebrities simply created a brand that they license to pot farmers, whereas Belushi is actually growing the pot on his own property, often with his own hands.
Belushi started slowly, first with a small medical grow three years ago and then transitioning into a full recreational farm with multiple outdoor and indoor gardens. He's been selling his carefully curated strains for two years, but he only recently decided it was time to put his name on the label. Pot shoppers in Oregon can now buy weed straight from Belushi's Farm.
I caught up with the actor, musician, and former Saturday Night Live star by phone. His voice was hoarse from singing at a community party he throws on his farm every year. We talked about what it's like growing legal pot, working with David Lynch, and how he thinks medical marijuana could have saved his brother John Belushi's life.
How long have you smoked pot?
When I was in high school, I smoked Mexican ragweed—which, by the way, I've been trying to get the guys to do this with me. I want to do Mexican ragweed with 6 percent THC—so I can actually smoke a whole joint! Today's [THC] temperature is pretty high; it's kind of a disappointment that people don't understand that it doesn't have to have high THC to be good.
Did you smoke pot at Saturday Night Live?
No. Unfortunately, when I was at SNL, I was using whiskey as my medication.
How often do you think you consume pot now?
Maybe three times a week I take a hit off my [vape] pen. But I do consume CBD every day, because I know the endocannabinoids in my body and my homeostasis is out of balance somewhere every day.
It's interesting that you relate to it in medical terms, because a lot of people think of cannabis only as a recreational drug. Do you separate medical use from recreational use, or is it always medicine to you?
The wellness part of cannabis is great for helping people with Alzheimer's disease, people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, people struggling with trauma. The number one fear in life is death, and the second is the collapse of family. Many people come from collapsed families, whether it's divorce or a disease that broke the family up, whether there's a death like in my family, a loss of business, all of these people need some kind of medicine.
All of these men who came back from World War II saw things that no one should see, and they leaned on alcohol, that was their medicine. And we had a generation of children who grew up with parents that were alcoholics, collapsed families. Then in the 1960s, marijuana came along—it was a medicine, but they called it a drug—but that's what people were doing.
My brother was an all-state, all-conference, honor society—he was a football player, middle linebacker. He got the most tackles every year. And then I saw him go into a seizure in my house, and I didn't know what it was. And now we know it could have been CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy]. And then he went to college and he found his medicine, but it was considered a drug.
Do you think if medical marijuana was around then, it could have helped him?
I think what we know about marijuana today, if we had known it in the 1970s, a lot more people would be alive, including my brother. Danny Aykroyd said, "If your brother John was a pothead, he would be alive today."
The medicine of marijuana will help prevent the collapse of families. I came from a collapsed family and suffered the trauma of John's death—you could imagine—I've always been in search of family because of it. And this family of cannabis people is a terrific family. They're all being led by the plant.
But the wellness of cannabis is not just for Alzheimer's, headaches, anxiety—it also enhances the sound of music. It sparks creativity. It enhances the taste of food. It enhances the touch of your lover's skin. It also gives you euphoria, a sense of joy, and a higher consciousness. So there's wellness all across.
I loved your work on the Twin Peaks reboot. What was it like working with David Lynch? Is he someone who seems like he's stoned even when he's not smoking weed at all?
Well, most of the time [on TV projects], we have a half-hour lunch on set. But on David Lynch's projects, we have an hour lunch because he's meditating for that hour. When you watch Twin Peaks, you think, "That guy must have been doing ayahuasca," because of the visions he has. But he gets it all from meditation.
What do you think about being another celebrity in the cannabis game? There's obviously Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and Marley Natural. How does it feel to be one of the first celebrities to get into the industry?
The difference between me and the men you just mentioned—all beautiful men, by the way—is they are white-labeling. I am growing it. I am curing it. I am flushing out the irrigation to make sure the ash is white. I'm pruning it. I'm trimming it. And now I'm marketing it.
But I love the agricultural aspect of it. I love the girls. [Editor's note: Pot farmers commonly refer to pot plants as "girls" or "ladies" because only the female pot plants produce the intoxicating flowers we smoke.] I love the feminine energy on my farm. But like all girls, you have to treat them right. I play music for them. When they're vegging, I play baby-making music for them, I play Marvin Gaye. And then as they are growing, I play reggae. And then when we're about to take them down, I play gospel music so they feel like they're seeing God before we take them. I love these girls.