Elon Musk Smokes Weed, Drops Science, Triggers Drop in Tesla Stock Price
Tesla's unpredictable CEO, smoking marijuana with comic Joe Rogan, also talked about his new electric jet idea.
From the didn't-see-this-one-coming desk: Shares in the electric car company Tesla dropped on Friday after a key executive quit and CEO Elon Musk smoked marijuana on a live web broadcast.
Future historians will have fun parsing the cause-and-effect relationships among those developments, but meanwhile we've been given yet another peek into the mind of the controversial tech mogul.
On Thursday, Musk appeared on the live webcast The Joe Rogan Experience. In a loose and wide-ranging conversation, the two discussed flamethrowers, artificial intelligence, and the end of the universe itself.
During one exchange, Rogan pulled out a joint and lit up.
“Is that a joint or is it a cigar?” Musk asked.
“It's marijuana inside of tobacco,” Rogan replied. Marijuana is legal for recreational use in California, where the show is recorded.
Rogen then offered Musk a hit, asking whether it would be an issue with stockholders.
“I mean, it's legal, right?” Musk asked, then took a healthy hit off the spliff.
Rogan and Musk also sipped whiskey throughout the two-hour interview. At one point, Musk's phone started buzzing. "I'm getting text messages from friends saying, 'What the hell are you doing smoking weed?'" he said.
So what was Musk thinking?
Well, turns out he was thinking about the kind of things people usually think about when smoking weed — trippy space planes.
“I have a design for a plane,” Musk said, going on to drop a few details about his latest initiative, an electric airplane that could fly at supersonic speeds and incorporate vertical take-off and landing technology.
”I’ve thought about this quite a lot,” Musk said of his electric aircraft idea. ”The interesting thing about an electric plane is that you want to go as high as possible. You need a certain energy density in the battery pack because you have to overcome gravitational potential energy.”
But a large portion of that gravitational potential energy could be recaptured and harvested on the descent, Musk said. He admitted that, so far, he's only discussed the concept with “friends and girlfriends.” and that he's not particularly focused on the project.
“Electric cars are important, solar energy is important, stationary storage of energy is important,” he said. “These things are much more important than creating electric supersonic VTOL.”
Whatever the intent of his recent public musings, Musk's wobbly behavior appears to be making investors nervous, as evidenced by Friday's decline in Tesla's share price.
Also on Friday, Tesla disclosed that its chief of accounting, Dave Morton, was leaving the company only weeks after being hired.
“Since I joined Tesla on Aug. 6, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations,” Morton said on Friday in a statement included in a filling with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. “As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future. I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla’s leadership or its financial reporting.”
Interesting side note: Rogan credits his appreciation of a marijuana-tobacco mix to Charlie Murphy and Dave Chappelle. That seems relevant, somehow.