Gene Simmons recently publicized cannabis producer Invictus’ launch on the Toronto Stock Exchange (with the new ticker symbol, GENE) and announced he’d purchased $10 million in the company’s stock. The move is interesting considering the rocker has avoided alcohol, drugs and cigarettes his whole life.
“I was wrong and I was not informed,” Simmons 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 continued. “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.”
Cannabis use has been shown to benefit people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain and other health issues. It is medically legal in Canada and the United States.
Simmons, 68, has been designated the Vancouver-based Invictus’ “Chief Evangelist Officer” and media spokesman. He is also a savvy businessman who understands the power of endorsement. He is largely responsible for the thousands of licensed products that generate income for KISS and himself.
“For me, this is a great business opportunity. As a matter of full disclosure, I’ve got 10 million in stock in the company and I’m glad to do it,” he explained. “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.”
He added, “At the end of the day, business is the sexiest thing.”
In 2016, Simmons told the Los Angeles Times why he’d never gotten drunk or high: “I’m my mother’s only child. I was concerned I had no right to harm my mother. Life did that enough.”
He explained that his straight edge lifestyle enabled him to continue to perform for over four decades. He added: “I literally never drink. Privately or publicly. I simply don’t like the taste or the smell of anything with alcohol in it. I have never been drunk in my life and have never taken more than a sip of anything and hated it every time. I will toast just to be social, but that’s it.”