Gene Simmons softens stance on cannabis

KISS frontman Gene Simmons was back in Toronto at the opening bell of the TSX and at the Four Seasons hotel speaking about his teaming up with Dan Kriznic, CEO and chairman of Invictus – Canada’s Cannabis Company and learning to throw the horns on Tuesday March 20, 2018.

Gene, Gene – the trading machine.

KISS bassist Gene Simmons was at the TSX Venture Exchange Tuesday ringing the morning bell as Canadian cannabis producer Invictus — which has two licensed sites in Edson, Alta. and Hamilton, Ont. — changed its share ticker name from IMH to GENE.

“Yes, it is easy to remember but it really comes from genetics,” insisted Simmons, 68, dressed in a black suit and grey tie for his new role as the Vancouver-based Invictus’ “Chief Evangelist Officer.”

For those confused about this new relationship given Simmons’ staunch teetotaler status — he’s never drank, smoked cigarettes or weed or done any drugs (except under a doctor’s care he says of the latter) and lashed out at abusers — he understands.

“I was wrong and I was not informed,” said Simmons. “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.”

Don’t forget, the branding expert has been the driving force behind 5,000 licensed products for KISS, himself and beyond.

“The appeal Invictus has for me is I’m bullish on the company and as an investment strategy for myself,” said Simmons, who will serve as the company’s media spokesperson among other duties.

“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 said. “Respectfully, I’m not as much a celebrity as a business man 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.”

“At the end of the day, business is the sexiest thing,” Simmons added.

Other Simmons’ stuff:

– He’ll be in Toronto hand delivering his Vault box set to fans on May 5-6.

– The Gene Simmons Band will headline the CannaFest Aug. 24-25 in Grand Forks, B.C.

– He’s spoken to reality TV show producer Mark Burnett about finding the next generation of KISS musicians when they’re ready to retire: “We can’t do this forever.”

– He doesn’t think the #MeToo/#TimesUp movements will change the music industry: “No. Let me put it bluntly. I think the s–tstorm is going to be here for a while and the pendulum will finally get to reality after. Right now it’s in the extreme.”

– His daughter Sophie, who has released three singles, can take care of herself: “She will kick you in the nuts — she’s not afraid of anybody or anything.”

GENE SIMMONS & ROB FORD WERE FRIENDS – WHO KNEW?

Gene Simmons wouldn’t say whether he agreed or disagreed with Ontario PC leader Doug Ford’s idea that legal recreational cannabis should be sold in the free market.

“It’s not up for me to figure any of that out,” said Simmons. “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.”

However, Simmons did divulge his friendship with Doug’s brother, the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

“(He) used to e-mail me in the middle of the night with all kinds of stuff,” said Simmons.

“Sometimes personal (things like), ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ We met through the CEO of the then largest auto parts company. She’s a friend and we used to be in business together, a business relationship, and Rob was there.”

And does Simmons have a similar relationship with Doug, who is vying to be the next premier of Ontario?

“Not yet,” said the rocker.

Not yet?

“Certainly — ‘cause I know everybody from the Dalai Lama on down,” said Simmons with a smile.

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