Gene Simmons, a notorious stickler for anything drug-related, says that he has relaxed his stance for pot users.
The KISS bassist/vocalist, who has always promoted clean living and scoffed at peers who snort drugs and get high, made headlines last week when he landed an odd new gig as "chief evangelist officer" at Canadian cannabis and fertilizer company Invictus.
For those confused about this new relationship given the fact that Simmons has been on the record about never trying cannabis in his whole life, he has a perfectly simple explanation. "I was wrong and I was not informed," he told the Toronto Sun. "Well, drug abuse, you don't have to be a genius [to know that's wrong] 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 in the past, I used to dismiss lots of things because of ignorance and arrogance," he explained. "About three years ago when I did my own research, I found out astonishingly new information that doctors and researchers were talking about with regards to cannabis."
Simmons, who will serve as Invictus's media spokesperson among other duties, disclosed that he has "10 million in stock" in the company and said that he was "glad to do it. Respectfully, I'm not as much a celebrity as a businessman because you can't find somebody like me. I have a restaurant chain, also some other businesses that have nothing to do with playing a guitar."
Dan Kriznic, CEO and chairman of Invictus, credited Gene's business acumen for the appointment. According to Kriznic, Simmons "created one of the most iconic bands of all time, but has spent decades building successful brands internationally in various industries."
As part of his deal with Invictus, Simmons has agreed to appear at least 50 investor and industry presentations for the company over a five-year period.
In a 2016 TeamRock feature, Simmons said that he was "not against marijuana for pain relief but on Planet Gene, drugs would be banned. Not because I don't want you to get high, because that would be your prerogative, but when you become an addict and getting a fix is all that matters, you are a parasite on society," he explained. "Let's create those gulags way up in the cold north someplace, where drug addicts who can't get clean are sent. If you freeze your ass off, you'll get straight very fast. The idea of social rehabilitation is nonsense. These people live among us and they're like vampires — they'll do anything for a fix."