I don’t think Jim Belushi was high while we talked on Zoom this week. Instead of a joint, he was puffing on a cigar, but he was still happy and smiling.
“I have my brother’s face on it. I have the Blues Brothers brand. It’s got to be good shit, man.”
Jim Belushi was telling me about his weed, specifically about the small 0.7 gram pre-rolls he sells — the perfect size for the post-Covid era, when passing a joint to a friend is likely discouraged. Belushi started his farm with 48 cannabis plants in 2015. Now, six years and one pandemic later, there are 200 plants in each of his four high-tech greenhouses along the Rogue River in southern Oregon.
“I’m always chasing magic,” Belushi said.
We were talking about his new greenhouses supplied in part by GrowGeneration, but Belushi cannot stop gushing about the benefits of cannabis. More than just a celebrity with a weed brand, Belushi is a fully-committed cannabis advocate.
“It’s magic when I do the Blues Brothers,” he said. “And I chase magic on a film set when I’m acting, and chase magic when I’m singing. I mean, I’m always chasing magic, and I’m going to do this cannabis business because there’s magic here.”
Belushi is among a recent group of celebrities diving deep into the world of cannabis. And he’s not shy about it. Look at his social media footprint. Belushi’s Twitter name is ‘Cannabis Farmer: Jim Belushi‘. His TikTok and Instagram feeds are full of clips from his farm. He even has a TV series on Discovery about his farm: “Growing Belushi.”
Cannabis is Belushi’s life right now. He even recently turned down a movie role because filming would take place in the fall, during harvest time. His agent didn’t approve of passing on the opportunity, and told Belushi he represents actors, not farmers. But according to Jim, cannabis farming is more important than acting.
“I’m a cross between Elmer Fudd and Bill Murray,” Belushi confesses. Like Murray in Caddyshack, Belushi is just good enough to be dangerous. According to Belushi, he’s been on the farm more than 200 days during the last year. In his eyes, this is what sets his apart from other celebrity cannabis operations.
Growing cannabis is more than a branding play for Belushi. It’s clear he’s not just trading his credibility and body of work for a hefty check; he’s on the farm, working the land, and tending to the bud he’s dealing.
“My hand is in the soil,” he said, explaining he works the land, ensuring the pH is correct, and that the soil is at the right temperature. He’s curing, smelling, testing, and tasting his crop.
“You know, my name is on it, my brother’s name is on it, and I’m not just throwing it out there,” Belushi said. “I’m really farming, and I’m loving this profession.”
Helping Mother Nature
Like many cultivators, Belushi turned to technology to combat pests and increase yields. A team from GrowGeneration outfitted his farm with the goods to mitigate pests and improve the quality. He says what they were selling for $1,000 a pound a year ago is now going for $2,200 a pound, and points to the improved growing facility as a significant factor.
Jeremy Corrao, VP of Commercial Operations at GrowGeneration, says the cannabis industry benefits from a range of new technologies that enable operators to see a faster return on their investments. He points to new lighting technology as an example.
“We’re seeing the most movement in people moving from energy-inefficient solutions into energy-efficient solutions,” Corrao said, explaining that the industry still has doubters who are hesitant of new technology. Yet, he says it’s lowering the cost of goods and improving ROI.
Corrao explains that functions and practices found throughout the agriculture industry are finally making their way to cannabis cultivators such as Belushi.
Yet even with new greenhouses complete with automated systems, some growers like Jim Belushi still rely on nature for help.
“[Belushi Farm] is in Southern Oregon with 192 days of sun,” Belushi said, stressing his love for the area. Moreover, his new greenhouses rely on the Oregon sun and still offer localized climate control, and pest management, which means he can have four growth cycles per year. This hybrid approach forgoes a closed climate system in favor of something that works within Belushi’s world.
More than branding
As legalization draws closer, cultivators are constantly look for an edge amid more competition — better soil, quicker harvest cycles, new strains — and Belushi has his name.
“Has the Belushi name always been associated with pot?” I ask Jim. I’m thinking back to the days of his departed brother, John Belushi, the always-on, always-authentic star of the 1970’s and ’80s. After all, substances were imbibed, smoked, and regularly snorted in those days, and John Belushi was a manic presence in much of 1980s comedy.
“Not pot, but fun”, he says after some thought. Jim gives credit to his brother John for starting the Belushi brand in 1975. To him, the Belushi brand represents “trying to make people feel good with a sense of humor or entertainment.”
Look at the brands from Belushi Farm: Blues Brothers, Belushi’s Secret Stash, and Captain Jack, named after the O.G. weed dealer of the early days of Saturday Night Live. Each of these brands offers strains true to Jim Belushi’s perspective on his name, too. There’s hardly anything offered with THC levels that would be considered gas (aka, stuff that gets you really high), but each offers respectable characteristics. That’s by design.
“My stuff has more to do with great blends of terpenes and THC,” Belushi said. “[This is] to create more of a medicinal effect that sends someone on a pathway to healing.” He added, laughingly, he has a couple of strains hasn’t smoked. He’s scared of them. Likewise, he looks at some of the strains offered by other celebrities as ready to rip and roar thanks to sky-high levels of THC. He hasn’t tried those either.
I ask why he thinks it’s exciting and newsworthy when celebrities launch a cannabis brand. Belushi is hardly the only one doing it. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg just launched Houseplant in the U.S., a cannabis brand offering dried flower and house goods. There’s Jay-Z with his upscale cannabis brand, Monogram. Even Martha Stewart is hawking cannabis, albeit in CBD gummy form.
Belushi is hesitant to compare his product to his celebrity competitors (probably related to his self-identification as a cultivator), but points to Snoop and Willy’s original celebrity pot brands as paving the way for him and others.
The failed war on drugs
New regulations are quickly changing the cannabis industry. As more states decriminalize and regulate cannabis, different industry segments are looking to the federal government to loosen its hold on the cannabis business.
For Belushi, access to traditional banking services would immediately impact him and the industry as a whole. And it could be coming soon: Two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a banking bill with broad bipartisan support.
“This is a very exciting time in the cannabis world,” Belushi said. “People have seen changes in others [who partake in cannabis]. Tumors are shrinking, seizures are stopping, people are sleeping, and people are getting better. It’s interesting because, no matter if you’re conservative or liberal or old or young, everybody knows someone that has suffered deeply.”
“Cannabis is not a gateway to drugs,” Belushi said. “It’s a pathway to healing.”
And yet, there are countless individuals in prison because of this so-called pathway to healing. Jim Belushi is working on that, too.
“Get them out,” Jim shouted when I talked about the Last Prisoner Project’s current goals. He’s referring to those incarcerated for crimes involving cannabis. To Belushi, who helps the cannabis activist group, this is a serious effort.
“It’s time to shift some energy to real justice,” Belushi said with deep passion. “Look at the Last Prisoner Project. It’s really a symbol that the war on drugs is over. It’s done. It’s ruined. The war on drugs ruined us. It ruined black and brown communities, which were especially hard hit.”
“Don’t get me started,” Belushi warned, as he laughed and calmed down.
The Last Prisoner Project was founded in 2019 by Steve DeAngelo and seeks cannabis criminal justice reform. The organization is made up of activists, attorneys, advocates, and others, including Belushi, who is an advisor. It’s clear he has a deep respect for the Last Prisoner Project’s founder and leader, Steve DeAngelo. “There’s no better hustler in the world than Steve DeAngelo,” he said. “Man, he’s just relentless, and it’s beautiful to watch.”
Belushi says the project is riding a wave right now, and they’re finding more states’ Attorneys General are answering their calls. But there are still needs, he says. The project can always use capital, as a lot of the work is done pro bono. And there’s a constant need for people to write letters and sign petitions — all of which are readily available on the project’s website here.
“And it would be great if people in the [cannabis] industry hire those that get out,” Belushi said, calling on the industry to lean in and help “these men and women who have been incarcerated for so long.”
He’s not just suggesting it as a course of action for others; he’s actively helping raise capital, too. The Blues Brothers is hosting a fundraiser at M.J. Unpacked this coming October in Las Vegas. Belushi, actor, comedian, weed farmer, and now a member of the Blues Brothers beamed as he spoke about performing for the Last Prisoner Project.
“We’re gonna have a big party there,” he said, “and we’re going to raise lots of funds, too.”
Because everybody needs someone to love.
Cannabis Live Rosin: The Solventless Concentrate & the Best Products
If you walk into a dispensary, half the products lining walls are concentrates, with names like wax, shatter, oil, live resin, and distillate. Most of these extraction processes require dangerous solvents, which pose a risk to making them, as well as consuming them. But there is one which does not. Welcome cannabis live rosin, the solventless concentrate.
Recently, products like cannabis concentrates and extracts have become very popular. From delta-8 THC, the newer form of THC which has less psychoactive effect, and a clear-headed high, to live rosin solventless concentrate, a powerfully strong and cleanly made concentrate, there are plenty of options. In fact, we’ve got some of the best delta-8 THC for you to get in on the world of new-age cannabis products.
What are cannabis extracts?
The cannabis plant is made of many constituent parts. There are cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, chlorophylls, and tons of other constituent parts, many of which we are not as interested in when considering cannabis and its effects. It’s perfectly fine to consume the plant in whole form in whatever consumption manner is preferable, and for millennia, this has been the main way of ingestion. Only recently have we had the ability to take specific parts out of the plant, and make products of these enhanced components. And that is essentially what a concentrate is.
It’s a product of extraction or distillation, in which a particular part of the plant is taken out, by whatever means are used, to create a condensed, and therefore much stronger, form. So, for example, a CBD concentrate is nearly pure CBD which has been extracted from the entire plant. And shatter is an extraction that distills the THC into a powerful condensed version, with few other plant materials still present.
Cannabis concentrates can be made in different ways, most of which use a solvent of some kind. These can vary in how dangerous they are, how quickly they work, and how effective they are. When making marijuana concentrates, the general options for solvents are:
- Hydrocarbon solvents – These are petroleum derivatives which can dissolve substances, and are used for many industrial consumer products. Examples of hydrocarbon solvents include propane, butane, and hexane. These solvents are known for being highly flammable, and working with them can be dangerous if not done under the correct conditions, with the correct safety precautions taken. These are also highly poisonous, so any extraction using a hydrocarbon comes with the added possibility of having leftover solvent still in the finished product.
- Non-polar solvents – These are solvents that don’t have separation of charges (called a dipole moment), meaning evenly distributed charge, and no partial positive or negative charge. This makes them different from polar solvents, which have partial charges and are electronegative. Polar solvents are used mostly for polar compounds, which cannabis is not, making non-polar the better solvent for cannabis concentrates over polar. Non-polar solvents are used to dissolve non-polar substances like, oils and fats. Examples include ethyl alcohol, liquid C02, and hexane. If you’ll notice, hexane is both a non-polar solvent, and a hydrocarbon. While using alcohol as a solvent is pretty safe, hexane is more dangerous as a hydrocarbon, and C02, which was labelled safe by the FDA for industrial extractions only, still carries some danger.
What is live rosin
Obviously, there are plenty of options for concentrates made using solvents. However, regardless of safety claims by companies trying to sell products, many people would prefer to err on the side of caution, and stay away from toxic chemicals. And this leads us to live rosin, a solventless cannabis concentrate.
So, what is live rosin, and what does it mean to be a solventless cannabis concentrate? First off, the ‘live’ is a term that refers to concentrates made from frozen fresh cannabis, or very freshly harvested plants. Though the term might seem counterintuitive, the meaning is that it preserves different aspect of a live plant. The term ‘rosin’ refers to concentrates made using solely heat and pressure, like if a hair straightener was used, or a T-shirt press. Rosin itself implies the lack of a solvent, as no outside material is used to extract a part of it.
Making live rosin is not as simple as putting the ‘live’ and the ‘rosin’ together, though. Simply taking frozen plants and smashing them down with a heated hair straightener, can result in burning off desired plant constituents like terpenes and cannabinoids, since the water frozen into the plant will boil out, along with these molecules. This would make the whole idea pointless as it would degrade the overall quality of whatever product was being made.
In order to make live rosin without burning out the most desirable parts, the first step is to create ice wax (also known as bubble hash, and water hash). Ice wax is made of the glandular trichomes of a cannabis plant, that have been separated from the plant by agitation while in a cold state.
How to make live rosin
Ice wax is created using bubble bags of different sizes, with filter screens measured in microns, which filter the material. These bags generally come in 1-5 gallons, and the filters vary in size which means that different filter sizes are effective for different sized trichomes. While fresh frozen cannabis is optimal for this process, it isn’t actually necessary, and dried buds work as well. The main necessity is that it be high quality cannabis. Ice wax is best when produced very quickly as the faster it happens, the fewer constituents like terpenes and cannabinoids are lost.
The process goes something like this: bubble bags are put in buckets, starting with the bag which has the filter with the smallest microns, and going in order to the largest, with one bag inside of the next. The next step is for layers of cannabis and ice to be alternately put in to fill the bucket almost to the top, with the remaining space filled with cold water. All of this sits for at least five minutes so that trichomes can get brittle and cold, and then the bucket is agitated by stirring the contents, making the trichomes break away from the plant, where they become suspended in the water.
It’s important not to stir too much, as the more the mixture is stirred, the more the plant material comes apart. For this reason, agitation time can be as little as just a couple minutes. After this, the top bag with all the plant material and ice, is pulled out of the bucket so that the water can drain out through the filter into the next bag. This first bag can be washed again if desired, but can also just be set aside after being drained. The rest of the bags are then also pulled and drained, one by one. As the water drains out of the bags, a layer of golden colored trichomes can be seen on the filters. The trichomes can be rinsed off to wash away impurities.
To get the trichomes off the filter screen, something like a butter knife is used, and the trichomes are put on a 25-micron screen that sits on a towel. It should stay like this, in a clean and ventilated location, until it’s dry. Once this is done, it should be stored in an airtight container. The ice wax can be kept in this form, or grated to the consistency of brown sugar. It can be sprinkled on joints, dabbed, used in a hash pipe, or be used to make live rosin concentrate.
Once you’ve got super high quality ice wax (since only high quality, fully meltable ice wax can be used), you can finish the process of making live rosin. The ice wax goes into a filter bag where both a low temperature and pressure are applied. What comes through the filter should be a very strong and pure concentrate. In fact, a gram of live rosin can go for over $100.
Buy yourself some live rosin products
If the idea of super high-potent live rosin, and solventless concentrates of cannabis, sound good to you, then there are products you should check out. Live rosin isn’t quite as common as other concentrates, but there are plenty of companies putting out live rosin options, with many more to come in the future.
- Papa’s Select – Papa’s Select is a subsidiary brand of Papa & Barkley, a well-known name in plant-based medicine. The live extracts company is based out of California, and takes ‘full melt’ seriously, producing the highest quality bubble hash and live rosin products, however, not all products are available for purchase outside of California currently.
- Nokhu Labs – This is a Colorado-based company specializing in solventless concentrates, and uses a mix of old-school pressing methods along with modern touches, to produce chemical-free products through chemical-free procedures. The company uses the highest grade cannabis flowers, and puts out a full-spectrum live rosin made from fresh frozen cannabis.
- Blue River Terps – A terpene company based out of California and Florida, Blue River looks to have no impact on the environment, creating concentrates without “chemicals, organic solvents, gases, flavor additives, or fillers.” The company’s Flan product is made from refined live rosin using advanced mechanical separating techniques, and can be used in vapes or dab rings.
- CAMP – Based out of Missouri, CAMP is a cannabis extract company that produces a line called Live Solventless Hash Cartridges, as well as a Stargazer line and a Happy Camper line. The company also produces completely solventless rosin coins.
- Happy Valley – This company is based out of Massachusetts and prides itself on consistency of products, accurate product labeling, and solventless extracts. Their highly potent rosin is the product of proprietary filtration methods applied to their whole plant ice wax.
- Green Dot Labs – Another Colorado company that produces both live resin and live rosin solventless concentrate. This company uses solvents as well, but has a signature live rosin line in its Black Label extracts. The company takes great pride in creating exclusive and rare concentrates from its own cannabis genetics collection.
- gLeaf – As a Maryland based company (which also operates out of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio) that came from a group of entrepreneurs and activists who helped shape Maryland’s medical cannabis laws, its no wonder that gLeaf produces high level products. The company puts out many products including rosin.
- Jungle Boys – This California company has been in business since 2006, and has a line of concentrates including live rosin solventless concentrate, and sift rosin batter. Anyone looking for a very high-quality full-melt hash should look no further than this company.
The world of solventless concentrates is starting to get bigger, thanks in part to consumers who want cleaner products, and producers who want to leave less of a footprint on the earth. Cannabis live rosin solventless concentrate represents a new age of cleaner concentrate production, and more powerful products.
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Live Resin – The Cold Cannabis Concentrate
Fresh Frozen Cannabis – Using Cold to Boost Flowers and Concentrates
DIY: How to Make Delta-8 THC at Home
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). What is Delta 10 THC?
The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc), the Best Delta 8 THC Deals and the Best Delta-10 THC deals.
Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a medical professional, I have no formal legal education, and I’ve never been to business school. All information in my articles is sourced from other places which are always mentioned, and all opinions stated are mine, and are made clear to be mine. I am not giving anyone advise of any kind, in any capacity. I am more than happy to discuss topics, but should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a professional in the relevant field for more information.
BREAKING: Colorado Just Banned Delta-8 THC!
In what can only be seen as a weird turn of events, Colorado, one of the first states to adopt recreational cannabis legalization, has officially banned Delta-8 THC and Delta 10 THC. For a state that allows recreational use, it’s a strange move to illegalize a naturally occurring part of the plant. Let’s take a look at why this is happening.
Delta-8 THC is the newer version of THC to hit the markets, providing users with a clear-headed high, and causing less anxiety and paranoia. Plus, the psychoactive effect is less than delta-9, which is great for medical users who want less of a high. The phenomenon is growing, and you can be a part of it by checking out our awesome Delta-8 THC deals, and ordering this new-age form of THC today.
What is delta-8 THC?
In order to understand the politics around why a state like Colorado banned delta-8 THC, it’s important to know what is being dealt with. Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring isomer of delta-9 THC, the more well-known THC associated with cannabis plants. Delta-9 THC itself does not appear in cannabis flowers in high amounts, but, rather its precursor THCA. When THCA has heat applied, or sits long enough for the sun and time to slowly take effect, THCA looses a carboxyl group (COOH) in a process called decarboxylation, to go from this chemical structure: (C22H30O4) to this chemical structure, (C₂₁H₃₀O₂), the structure for all delta THCs.
The process is only half over at this point. When delta-9 THC comes into contact with oxygen, it loses electrons in a process called oxidation, which ever-so-slightly modifies the compound by changing where a double carbon bond takes place. In delta-9 THC it’s on the 9th carbon atom in the chain, for delta-8 it’s on the 8th, though the actual chemical structure remains the same. The new molecule created, delta-8 THC, is actually way more stable than delta-9, and therefore has a longer shelf-life.
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Delta-9 oxidizes to form delta-8 at an extremely low rate, so though it’s naturally occurring, it’s not naturally occurring in high enough amounts to create products. For this reason, human processing help is required in order to produce enough delta-8 for products. This creates a bit of a quandary as to whether it should be considered ‘naturally-occurring’ or ‘synthetic’. A point which makes a big difference, as all synthetic THCs are automatically illegal schedule I drugs as per DEA Controlled Substance Code Number 7370, as synthetics don’t fit under the definition of hemp. We’ll get to why this is important soon.
Delta-8 and delta-9 THCs are known for many of the same medical benefits, like decreasing nausea and vomiting, while stimulating appetite, anti-inflammatory effects, antimicrobial abilities, and usefulness with neurodegenerative and spastic disorders. It’s also good for anxiety, which is actually where it stands out over delta-9. Delta-9 THC can help some people with anxiety, but it is also known to cause anxiety and paranoia in others.
Best Delta-8 THC Cartridges
According to the U.S. Hemp Farming Act of 2018, any constituent of the hemp plant is legal as long as it contains less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis. It doesn’t make any delineation about Delta 8 specifically. So, at the federal level Delta 8 THC is legal.
However, some states in the U.S. aren’t permitting the sale of Delta 8 products. Be sure to look up the local laws in your state before you buy.
What is Kief?
Sometimes called “crystal” or “pollen,” kief is a powder comprised of trichomes (resin glands) of the cannabis plant. Kief is a nickname that refers to the bulbous part of glandular trichomes. Under close inspection you can find these covering cannabis plants as a defence mechanism, essentially turning them into unpleasant snacks for animals and pests.
High quality bud, sometimes called “craft” cannabis, is where trichomes really shine. Literally! Flower that’s been grown in perfect conditions will be covered in a sticky, shiny, hairy exterior. These trichomes are in peak performance. Once the flower has been cured, these resin producers tend to fall off the buds like dust, but just the bulbous part of the trichome on the end.
The reason people love to save all their kief, or brag about an especially well coated strain they’re smoking, is because those trichomes are where the majority of the THC is being made. It’s worth cleaning your grinder out once in a while and setting aside the kief you collect out of it for a rainy day. Or if you have the patience to wait for a few rainy days, you may collect enough to make yourself some homemade hash!
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