Gene Simmons has said he was “wrong” and “not informed” about cannabis as he began his role as “chief evangelical officer” for Canadian cannabis company Invictus. The announcement last week took many fans by surprise since the Kiss star had always been outspoken about the use of any form of drugs, and has always insisted he’d never used anything other than prescription substances.
“I was wrong and I was not informed,” Simmons told the Toronto Sun in a recent interview. “Well, drug abuse, you don’t have to be a genius [to reject it] and alcohol abuse, everybody knows that’s wrong, but I’ve been dismissive of cannabis. And I didn’t know much about it. I just dismissed it out of hand.
“I have to man up and admit,” he continued, “in the past, I used to dismiss lots of things because of ignorance and arrogance. About three years ago when I did my own research, I found out astonishing new information that doctors and researchers were talking about with regards to cannabis.”
Recent analysis has suggested that cannabis can offer benefits to people with cancer and HIV/AIDS, and those suffering chronic pain and muscle spasm issues. Medical use is legal in Canada and parts of the U.S. with the majority of American voters thought to support the legalization of recreational use.
Simmons, who was taking part in an event to publicize Invicta’s launch on the Toronto Stock Exchange – with the ticker name of “GENE” – revealed that he’d purchased “10 million” in the company’s stock and his commitment included appearing at a minimum of 50 promotional events over the next five years. “Respectfully, I’m not as much a celebrity as a businessman because you can’t find somebody like me,” he said. “I have a restaurant chain, also some other businesses that have nothing to do with playing a guitar. At the end of the day, business is the sexiest thing.”
Asked about a political campaign to allow recreational cannabis to be sold on the open market, he said, “It’s not up for me to figure any of that out. Let the people decide. Let the lawmakers decide. Vote for people that exemplify what it is you want out of government. We all know that laws continually evolve. There used to be prohibition in America — now there’s not.”
He also revealed that he’d spoken to reality TV producer Mark Burnett about launching a series to find the next generation of Kiss members. He and colleague Paul Stanley have regularly discussed the idea of the band continuing without them. “We can’t do this forever,” Simmons said.