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Elon Musk Clarifies His “420” Tweet Was Not About Weed

In an interview with the New York Times, Elon Musk denies having ever consumed cannabis.

A.J. Herrington

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Elon Musk Clarifies His "420" Tweet Was Not About Weed
Kathy Hutchins/ Shutterstock

Tech mogul Elon Musk has clarified that his tweet on August 7 about taking his electric car company Tesla private was not related to weed. In the tweet, Musk wrote that he had secured financing to take the company private at $420 per share. The quoted price led some to speculate it was related to 4/20 references from cannabis culture.

The tweet caused a rally in Tesla stock that led to a suspension of trading shares in the company on the Nasdaq exchange. An investigation has also been initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In an interview with The New York Times, Musk said he was not high when he posted the tweet. Instead, it was just a matter of rounding numbers.

Musk had calculated that a 20 percent premium on the trending share price at the time came to $419. He then simply rounded that figure up to $420.

“It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419,” Musk said. “But I was not on weed, to be clear.”

Musk continued by sharing his opinion about cannabis.

“Weed is not helpful for productivity,” said Musk. “There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned’. You just sit there like a stone on weed.”

Pot Bad, Pharma Good

Despite his disdain for cannabis, a natural herb, Musk apparently has no problem resorting to powerful and sometimes dangerous pharmaceuticals. In the New York Times interview, Musk said that long hours and stressful days sometimes lead to sleepless nights. When that happens, he turns to the powerful prescription sedative Ambien.

“It is often a choice of no sleep, or Ambien,” Musk said.

Possible side effects of Ambien include anxiety, depression, nervousness, unusual behavior, and thoughts of hurting oneself.

Musk’s use of Ambien has concerned some members of Tesla’s board of directors, “who have noted that sometimes the drug does not put Mr. Musk to sleep but instead contributes to late-night Twitter sessions.”

Musk’s schedule and stress level also have board members worried, as Tesla struggles to meet production goals for its line of electric cars.

Musk admitted that his job has taken its toll on him over the last year.

“This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career,” he said. “It was excruciating.”

Musk’s workload has led the company to search for a chief operating officer or another top executive to help run the company. But Musk has made it clear he will remain as both chairman and chief executive officer.

“If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know,” Musk said. “They can have the job. Is there someone who can do the job better? They can have the reins right now.”

In a statement, the board of directors excluding Musk expressed support for the chief executive.

“There have been many false and irresponsible rumors in the press about the discussions of the Tesla board. We would like to make clear that Elon’s commitment and dedication to Tesla is obvious,” the board members wrote. “Over the past 15 years, Elon’s leadership of the Tesla team has caused Tesla to grow from a small start-up to having hundreds of thousands of cars on the road that customers love, employing tens of thousands of people around the world, and creating significant shareholder value in the process.”

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