KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons has once again admitted that he was "judgmental and uninformed" about marijuana's benefits in the past.
The KISS bassist/vocalist, who has always promoted clean living and scoffed at peers who snort drugs and get high, made headlines in March 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, Simmons explained his stance during an appearance earlier today (Thursday, May 17) on CNBC's "Squawk Box".
"I've never gotten high or drunk in my life," he said (see video below). "Drugs — everybody uses drugs; you take an aspirin; you numb your gums — but never rolled anything or smoked it.
"I would like to admit that I was judgmental, arrogant and uninformed, as well as misinformed," he continued. "I was throwing out the baby out with the bathwater. I was subjected to the 'Cheech & Chong'-itis disease, which is the low end.
"Look, champagne is booze, but you don't wanna call it booze, 'cause there is a difference between that and a wino on the corner.
"Cannabis, I found out through doing research and stuff — and I urge everybody to ignore everything I say and find out for yourself — I was astonished to find out the medicinal value," Simmons added. "The little six-year-old girl who's suffering from epilepsy and rubbing a cannabis-based product on her, and within two weeks, she's either cured or minimized it.
"I think all of us need to understand more about this, specifically the legislators, who don't have a clue what they're talking about when they pass legislation," he said. "And even recreationally, I have no problem with that. You've got cigarettes, which might give you cancer. It says so right there [on the packaging]: 'You're a moron. You're playing Russian Roulette with your life.' It says so right there. In Canada, they even have photos of cancerous growths, and people still buy it. That's legal, but cannabis isn't? You're killing me."
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."
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."