Belushi’s ambitions reflect the rapid evolution of marijuana into a big business
Jim Belushi’s next TV project isn’t a follow-up to his sitcom, “According to Jim.” It’s a reality show about his latest passion: the marijuana business.
The 65-year-old became a gentleman weed farmer a few years ago after Oregon legalized cannabis use. Now he wants Belushi Farms to go national, using the well-known Blues Brothers brand and building a serious company. He grows and sells products under other brand names in Oregon.
A key test of his growth strategy will be getting into stores in his home state of Illinois when recreational marijuana goes legal next year. “Illinois is going to be a huge market,” says Belushi, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton but has lived in Los Angeles for a couple of decades. “I want to be on the shelves come Jan. 1.” He says he’s serious about plans to drive a replica of the Bluesmobile—topped with a joint instead of a giant PA speaker—on Chicago’s Lake Street under the el train to mark the occasion.
Belushi’s ambitions reflect the rapid evolution of marijuana into a big business. Early players in what was a highly regulated, slow-moving medical cannabis industry are scrambling to build consumer brands for a market that’s expected to explode. His focus on Illinois underscores the sixth-largest state’s importance, both as a major retail market and as an industry hub that’s home to four of the largest cannabis companies. Illinois will be the 11th state to legalize marijuana use by the public, but many expect it to go national eventually.
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