Growing Belushi’s final message: We’ll heal with medicine, joy and music

Comedian Jim Belushi wants to send the message to the world that cannabis is a source of medicine, healing, and joy in the third and final installment of the reality series “Growing Belushi”, which aired on Discovery Sept. 2.

The last episode wraps up the portrayal of Belushi’s new foray into the world of growing cannabis on his Medford, Oregon farm, concluding the struggles and challenges faced by Belushi and his team as they attempt to finish getting the cannabis plants harvested and ready for market.

The episode, as well as the series, hinges on Belushi taking a risk by operating the cannabis farm, against the counsel of most of his friends and family, without knowing if he can add something special enough to break out ahead of the cannabis competition.

The risks and failures include an entire crop of the old-school “epic” strain from grower Captain Jack being destroyed and a “mission from God” from Canadian actor/comedian Dan Aykroyd.

Belushi must find several elusive legendary cannabis strains in Colombia in order to secure the rights to use the “Blues Brothers” name for his cannabis branding. This is where we find Jim Belushi in the last episode, concluding his mission in Colombia to find the seeds (no spoilers here on whether he finds them all or not!), then heads back to Oregon for a harvest party to celebrate a successful growing season with friends and family. Episode 3 continues to showcase some of the fun, quirky characters that have been built up over the course of the three-part series, especially Jim’s cousin Chris, the farm manager. There is a particularly touching scene near the end as Jim recognizes their brotherly relationship. Jim’s unsupportive family (who held an intervention in episode one to try to get him to quit cannabis farming) also seemingly have a change of heart when they see the success of the harvest, and the series has an overall light-hearted, wholesome feel, which is a nice portrayal to see about cannabis farming on mainstream television.

There is a somewhat distracting tone of incoherence throughout the series, however, which is amplified in the last episode as they attempt to pull the various pieces all together. It feels as though they should have and could have had the whole Colombia trip confined to the second episode instead of opening the third episode in Colombia but quickly moving on the harvest in Oregon. The episode is all over the place, from looking for seeds in Colombia, to harvesting the plants and getting them batch tested, to doing a kind of science corner explaining how the cannabis will be made into extract products using a CO2 extraction, to his family singing on stage at the harvest party, to a police car showing up with lights and sirens (no spoilers will be found here on how that turns out either!). Many of the characters who seemed so important to the series in the first episode, such as the young slackers working on the farm, do not even get speaking lines for the rest of the series. Despite being a little jumbled, there is still a lot of entertainment in the series from Belushi’s goofiness and the personalities of the characters as they strive to make the farm a success. One of the most amusing scenes in the series occurs when Jim takes Chris clothes shopping in Colombia and convinces him to try on some outlandish garments way outside of his normal uptight style. The episode also continues to explore the history and legacy of Pablo Escobar that they tackled in the second episode, with more interesting insights into how he was both hero and brutal drug lord, and how Belushi’s obsession with him may extend from Escobar’s “larger than life” personality which Belushi shares.

The harvest party is a lot of fun and a perfect celebration of the cannabis plant and harvest rituals and festivities that have been observed since humans began agricultural practices. There is a wonderful message of positivity and wholesomeness toward cannabis that permeates the series that many viewers can relate to, and those who cannot, should really watch Growing Belushi to be able to view cannabis in a more favourable light than is often shown on mainstream media. Jim Belushi sums it all up admirably, “Now I know what my journey is, to stay engaged with this plant, follow the healing, follow the medicine, follow it where it wants to take me. We’re partners, we’re family, and we’re on a mission from God, we’re going to heal with medicine, joy, and music.”

Salina May is a Lethbridge cannabis writer with a background in science.