Tesla stock plunges after Musk ‘smokes marijuana’ during web interview

Sheri Evans
September 12, 2018

This time, the executive departure is David Morton, chief accounting officer at Tesla Inc., who called it quits after just a month on the job.

Musk has security clearance because another of his companies, SpaceX, provides satellite launch services to the USA government.

Taking a puff from a joint, which Rogan said was a blend of tobacco and marijuana and legal in California, Musk said he "almost never" smoked. A podcast appearance Thursday night featuring whiskey, a joint and a Samurai sword was only the latest example of Musk's eccentric behavior.

And the stock dropped more than 6 percent Friday to close at $263.24 a share - its lowest point since March of a year ago.

The ill-fated effort has prompted a United States securities investigation and a class-action lawsuit alleging Musk was trying to punish investors who bet against the company.

Tesla shares sank 7.0 percent to $26.34 in mid-morning trading after chief accounting officer Dave Morton announced his exit after only a month on the job, citing the company's frenetic pace.

Several media outlets incorrectly reported that the U.S. Air Force was reviewing Musk's security clearance after the video of him smoking was published online, because his company SpaceX provides services to the government, Reuters reported. In a statement provided in the filing, Morton said "since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations. As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future", Morton said in the filing.

At one point, Musk described the constant barrage of ideas in his mind as being "like a "never-ending explosion", and said he wondered as a young boy whether he might be insane because it didn't seem to happen to other people". "I don't actually notice any effect ..." But it subsequently fell when Musk revealed that funding wasn't locked down. "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".

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"The behavior on YouTube is obviously in line with what we've seen in the past", he said.

"We think this is further evidence that the time is now for management and the board to address these issues".

But the most questionable action came when Musk tweeted August 7 that he had secured funding to take the company private at $420 per share to get away from the short-term pressure of Wall Street. Investors who have bet that Tesla's stock price will fall, or "short sellers", also have filed a lawsuit against Tesla and Musk alleging that the take-private proposal was a ruse aimed at lowering the value of their holdings.

The company has had a tumultuous year with executive turnover.

Viecha also restated Tesla's forecast that it will build 50,000 to 55,000 of its Model 3 sedans in the current quarter, and indicated the company's working capital will improve as production increases, Spak wrote. Yet the incident could revive questions about whether Musk is the right person to lead Tesla.

Tesla shares were last down 7 percent at $261.37 on Friday afternoon.

A man walks near a logo of Tesla outside its China headquarters at China Central Mall in Beijing, China July 11, 2018.

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