Actor, comedian and cannabis entrepreneur Jim Belushi is full of surprises. On October 27, he traveled to Akwesasne in upstate New York to announce a Belushi’s Farm partnership with St. Regis Mohawk Tribe member Zachery Oakes. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the dispensary was filmed for Season 3 of Growing Belushi, which will air on Discovery in 2023. Season 2 ended with a fire on the Belushi’s Farm property. Since then the company has expanded to nine more states, including Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri. Growing Belushi also goes to Albania, Belushi’s home country, where he meets with prime minister Edi Rama about growing and exporting medical cannabis.
We spoke with Belushi via Zoom on November 11. This is an edited transcript of that conversation.
We just finished our 45th day of shooting Growing Belushi. We’re doing six episodes compared to three in Season 2. There was a 30% jump in audience from Season 1 to Season 2. Discovery has only had four shows in their history that have done that. I’m getting recognized for this show all over the place. It used to be According to Jim or K-9, but now it’s like, wow, people are really [into it]. It’s writing and producing and directing and editing and acting, it’s just not a script which is super cool and creative and collaborative. It’s so much fun.
They’re interested in creating a medical marijuana export. They grow so much weed in Lazarat that the government has shut down that town. It was a three-day battle. It has perfect growing conditions. Perfect humidity, the water is pure, they have sun for almost 300 days. It’s in the middle of this valley. The altitude is perfect. There are 700 people in that village that were growing and curing. It was their livelihood. And they got shut down. The government wants to create a legal business in order to participate in the taxation and the funds. They want me to kind of spearhead it in Albania. In Amsterdam any of the weed that says Albania on it sells right away. With our SOPs and our knowledge of cultivation, I think we can really help Albania deliver quality cannabis and oil. Albania is not North Korea anymore.
The show has made a big difference. A lot of things come out of the blue. We get calls all the time. Greg Steinberg, my CEO, got a call from them and we just started talking. Native American land, social equity, indigenous people is now a big thing. Cannabis was always a plant medicine. It’s a pathway to getting off alcohol and drugs which have ravished many communities, the indigenous community especially. I was really thrilled to make a very fair and beautiful partnership with them. The store’s open. They have our genetics, about six strains. They’re growing in hoop houses and are building some beautiful greenhouses. And one section is totally indoors. They’re expanding and they’re hoping to get licenses in New York State. We drove down the road and we went, Wow, we’ve got some competition here. There are eight to 10 dispensaries on the main road. I think one of the reasons they contacted us was because they wanted to be competitive and Belushi’s Farm has an authenticity and credibility to it and also a recognizable name. All three of those things were very attractive to them.
Michigan and Missouri
We opened up in Niles, Michigan with Highway Horticulture. Spectacular indoor grow, state of the art. The grower there Nick Sayers is a geneticist.
Yesterday, Greg met with four different operations in Missouri. He whittles it down to two and then I fly in. We go through the regimen of how they grow, what they grow, what soils they use, lights, dehumidifiers, nutrients. Their full spectrum LED is the best on the market right now.
I’ve experimented with many things. I’ve gone to Peru and done ayahuasca. That’s a chapter in a book. I did that, San Pedro and iboga, which really was a life-changing experience. We’ll save that for Season 4. (Full Story)