Actor turned cannabis farmer Jim Belushi believes his brother, John Belushi, would still be alive if he had been a ‘pothead,’ claiming marijuana is the ‘greatest medicine’.
Jim, who now runs a pot farm in Oregon, touted the benefits of marijuana during a promotional interview for the new season of his reality TV show, Growing Belushi.
‘It is the greatest medicine,’ Jim, 67, told Yahoo Entertainment. ‘It gives you energy. It’s very creative.’
The former According to Jim star said his legendary brother wouldn’t have died so young if he’d been using cannabis. John Belushi was 33 when the SNL and Blues Brothers star was found dead of a cocaine and heroin overdose at the Chateau Marmont in Beverly Hills in 1982.
‘You know, he died of a drug overdose and I really think … if he was a pothead, he’d be alive. Because it’s a great medicine,’ Jim shared, noting John’s battle with drugs may have stemmed from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – a term to describe brain damage cause by repeated head trauma.
‘I believe he had CTE from playing football and I believe a lot of his behavior stemmed from that.’
Jim said his brother was a middle linebacker when he was in high school in suburban Chicago and that playing football caused damage to the comedian’s brain.
‘I know he had damage to the brain. As soon as alcohol and drugs were available to him I think he went right to (self) medication,’ Belushi said in the premiere episode of the second season of Growing Belushi, CNN reported.
He argued if healthcare experts 50 years ago had the same knowledge medical professionals do today, that maybe John could’ve had a different treatment plan.
‘In the ’70s, if they knew what we knew today about marijuana and the healing benefits I think my brother John would still be alive,’ Jim stated.
Jim’s passion for ‘healing power of cannabis, trauma, and the opioid epidemic’ all stem from his brother’s passing.
John’s death served as a catalyst for Jim’s successes.
‘You know, there’s an old saying that goes like this. “When you drink the water, remember the men or women who dug the well,”‘ Jim told Yahoo.
‘John dug the well for me. I’m drinking a lot of water. I mean, I’d be working at my dad’s restaurant right now if it wasn’t for John showing that there’s another way, another profession.’
Jim, with the help of John’s Blues Brothers co-star Dan Aykroyd, launched a product line of ‘baby blues’ or ‘parking lot joints’ inspired by their film.
The Blues Brothers products are meant to pay tribute to John and how he helped Jim grow personally and professionally.
‘John led a path for me that I’ve been enjoying this great life. And of course I honor him.’
John received numerous accolades both during his life and posthumously, including an Emmy for his writing on SNL, two Grammy nominations and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
Additionally, just three years before he died, John had the trifecta of billboard success in music, film and television.
‘On his 30th birthday, the Blues Brothers were number one, he was on the number one comedy show on TV, and the movie Animal House was number one grossing movie,’ his then-wife Judy Belushi Pisano told Hollywood 360 in 2020.
Jim – who is fairly new to the marijuana lifestyle and even admits he’s a ‘lightweight’ – founded Belushi Farms in 2015 to operate within Oregon’s medical cannabis market.
His mission was to use the farm ‘as a gateway to healing’ and, for him, the business is ‘all about the medicine’.
‘I think [cannabis] medicine across the board is not only for Alzheimer’s, headaches, PTSD, seizures, backaches and pain, but it also enhances the taste of food, the touch of your lover’s skin, the sound of music,’ Belushi told Hemp Grower last year.
‘It opens your chest up to the presence of music and rhythm, which is healing to PTSD, but it also makes you feel good. It makes you feel euphoric at times; it lightens you and brings you cultural isolation. That encompasses the wellness of cannabis, and I think hemp can do that even on a more subtle range.’
In the last seven years, he has grown his cannabis farm – which is located in an area of southwest Oregon that Jim refers to as the ‘Napa Valley of marijuana’ – from 48 plants to 93 acres.
When he first entered the cannabis market, Jim partnered with his cousin Chris Karakosta and famed grower Captain Jack, who was known for providing weed to the cast of Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. He also allegedly traveled to Afghanistan to procure special seeds.
Jim said he met Jack through Aykroyd: ‘He knew Danny through SNL cause he was the weed dealer for Danny and SNL.’
‘I swear Coneheads came outta this [weed], and all those crazy ideas.’
Jim, Jack and Chris have since worked to grow the brand, as depicted in season one of Growing Belushi. They even journeyed to Colombia to find the strains of weed that were used in the Blues Brothers products.
Fans can continue following Jim’s cannabis journey in season two of Growing Belushi, which premieres Wednesday, Jan. 19 on Discovery and Discovery+.