KISS founder and bassist Gene Simmons has come a long way from comparing cannabis to heroin. In 2018, Simmons joined the board of Canadian cannabis retailer and producer Invictus MD as “Chief Evangelist Officer.” And now, he’s gearing up to open a KISS-branded dispensary that will feature an exclusive KISS cannabis strain, “KISS Kush.” And while Simmons says his KISSPENSARY is a natural outgrowth of his change of heart regarding the health and wellness benefits of cannabis, he also admits it’s all about the Benjamins. “I see how much money there is to be made,” Simmons said. “It’s going to be very exciting.”
KISSPENSARY To Open July 4 in Los Angeles
Rock legend Gene Simmons has long-been outspoken against the use of alcohol and drugs. Always a controversial character, especially when it came to cannabis, it was ultimately science that transformed Simmons’ views on marijuana. “I was one of those people who said cannabis is the same thing as heroin,” Simmons told High Times in 2018. “But it’s not! We’re told by researchers every single day that there is not only medical value in cannabis, but even miraculous results from cannabis-based products.”
Simmons admits, however, that his entrepreneurial venture into the cannabis industry began as a financial play. Now, however, the KISS bassist is an outspoken advocate for legalization and education around medical and recreational marijuana. Today, his association with marijuana is something he’s proud of—and something he plans to capitalize on.
Simmons’ KISSPENSARY, set to open July 4 in Los Angeles, adds to his already diverse portfolio of business ventures, some successful, and some definitely not. “With every purchase [at KISSPENSARY], people will receive a copy of Carnival of Souls and a Peter Criss head coffee mug which we have tons of from our failed KISS Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach,” Simmons said.
And in addition to peddling merchandise from other ventures, KISSPENSARY shoppers will have no shortage of options when it comes to KISS-themed cannabis products. From KISS bongs shaped like band members’ heads to KISS rolling papers, KISS grinders and KISS vape pens, KISSPENSARY will have it all. But the highlight, for Simmons, is the dispensary-exclusive strain, KISS Kush.
Gene Simmons: From Anti-Pot Zealot to Industry Advocate
These days, you won’t hear Gene Simmons say a bad word about cannabis. But it wasn’t always that way. The internet is awash with incredible quotes from Simmons about his views on cannabis. He once told his kids he would cut them out of his will if he ever caught them smoking weed. He called people who consumed cannabis “stoners” and “losers.” Simmons, on the other hand, “never rolled anything, smoked, ever been drunk, nothing in my mouth save Aspirin maybe,” Simmons said in 2018. “I’m straight, and always have been.”
Now, however, Simmons recognizes that he was “arrogant and uninformed” about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis, especially for medical uses. He’s even changed his tune about recreational consumption. The KISS bassist still hasn’t admitted to smoking any cannabis himself, let alone his exclusive brand of weed, KISS Kush. In California’s competitive cannabis market, will Simmons’ previous views on weed and naked financial opportunism turn off cannabis consumers looking for an authentic experience? When asked how his KISSPENSARY will set itself apart from other cannabis retailers, Simmons had a simple reply: “Because, as you all know, KISS is awesome.”