Elon Musk denies being ‘on weed’ when posting $420 stock tweet

During an emotional interview, the Tesla chief says he’s been working 120-hour weeks to meet his targets

Elon Musk
Musk at the Allen & Company Sun Valley media conference in 2015
(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has said that he was “not on weed” when he posted a controversial tweet about the electric car company’s stock last week.

On 7 August, the South African-born billionaire told his 22.3 million Twitter followers that he was considering “taking Tesla private” at $420 (£330 per share).

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The tweet has landed Musk in hot water with his investors who are suing the chief executive for allegedly violating federal law. Several of his followers have pointed out that 420 is a code commonly associated with using cannabis.

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But in an interview with the New York Times, Musk said that the figure quoted in the tweet had nothing to do with cannabis. Instead it had been rounded up as the number had “better karma” at $420 than at $419.

Musk denied rumours that he was a cannabis smoker. “But I was not on weed, to be clear. Weed is not helpful for productivity”, he said. “There’s a reason for the word stoned. You just sit there like a stone on weed.”

Earlier in the interview an emotional Musk told the paper that the past year had been “the most difficult and painful year of my career.”

He attributed his “excruciating” year to working 120 hours a week in a bid to get Tesla on course to meet its production target of manufacturing 5,000 Model 3 electric cars weekly, The Guardian reports.

Musk blamed short-sellers – investors who sell shares shortly after buying them so they can buy them back at a cheaper price later – for potentially putting Tesla’s existence in jeopardy, the paper said.

The electric carmaker’s founder told the New York Times that he was anticipating “at least a few months of extreme torture” from short-sellers who he described as “pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla’s destruction”.

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