Tesla shares fall after Elon Musk smokes weed, drinks whisky during interview

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Musk turned heads with a more than two-hour podcast interview with comedian Joe Rogan in which he drank whisky and appeared to smoke a marijuana-and-tobacco cigarette proffered by the comedian as he mused about artificial intelligence and colonising space.

But that's not it.

Tesla Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton resigned Tuesday, according to a Tesla public filing Friday morning. His past jokes about tweeting after taking Ambien and drinking wine didn't seem so amusing anymore, and he defended his use of the prescription sleep aid in a New York Times interview.

After Musk announced on August 7 that he meant to take Tesla private at $420 a share, there was speculation that the figure was chosen because "420" is a code for marijuana in the drug subculture.

"I think you have a responsibility as a CEO to be a role model to young kids and kids in college and young executives, to your employees", Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy said on Friday during an interview on FOX Business' "Cavuto: Coast to Coast".

Morton stated that "the level of public attention placed on the company" and "the pace within the company" caused him to reconsider his future.

Tesla is now worth roughly $US21 billion less than it was in the immediate aftermath of Musk's infamous "funding secured" tweet. Musk, when offered a hit by Rogan, asked, "It's legal right?" before opting to take a puff. Announced by tweet days before a much-discussed weekend involving Musk's romantic partner, the singer Grimes, and her friend, rapper Azealia Banks, the privatization play by social media raised a series of questions about Musk's mental state, potential drug use, and that particular number's relation to the cannabis community.

Tesla stocks tumbled this week after CEO Elon Musk appeared to smoke pot in a podcast, and top executives left the company.

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Toledano, who has been on leave of absence from the company, said she would not be returning to the company.

"The use of recreational drugs, legal or not, goes against the unspoken rules of being a public CEO", the analyst said in a blog post. "Especially auto companies", Musk said.

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

"It's time for Tesla and Elon Musk to grow up", said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader.

"We're taking vast amounts of carbon from deep underground and putting this in the atmosphere - this is insane", Musk said, a reference to the consumption of fossil fuels around the world.

Tesla shares dropped sharply Friday after the electric-car company disclosed that its chief of accounting was leaving the company only weeks after coming aboard.

Earlier this week, he escalated his attacks on Vernon Unsworth, the British cave diver he accused of being a paedophile, calling him a "child rapist" in an email to a Buzzfeed reporter.

Tesla reached that level in late June, but did so by working around the clock and hastily adding a third assembly line in a huge tent outside its factory in Fremont, California - a measure that auto-manufacturing experts had never seen before.