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Elon Musk Used Illegal Drugs, Sparked Concerns Among Tesla, SpaceX Board Members: Report

Elon Musk Used Illegal Drugs, Sparked Concerns Among Tesla, SpaceX Board Members: Report

Mr Musk claims to have a prescription for the psychedelic-like drug ketamine.

Billionaire Elon Musk’s use of psychedelic drugs like ketamine to treat depression made news last year. However, in recent years, several board members at Tesla and SpaceX developed concerns over his use of drugs, which could have major consequences for his health and for the vast business empire he oversees, as per a report in The Wall Street Journal.

People who have observed and others who know the world’s richest person’s drug usage claim that he has taken LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, and psychedelic mushrooms, frequently at private parties across the world where guests sign nondisclosure agreements or give up their phones to join. Mr Musk claims to have a prescription for the psychedelic-like drug ketamine and has previously used marijuana in public. 

For instance, at a party he threw in Los Angeles in 2018, he took several tablets of acid. He used magic mushrooms at a party in Mexico the next year. He and his brother Kimbal Musk engaged in recreational ketamine usage in 2021 while attending an Art Basel house party in Miami. Along with Steve Jurvetson, a former board member of Tesla and current SpaceX, he also engaged in illicit drug use.

As per the report, Linda Johnson Rice, a former director at Tesla, became so enraged with the billionaire’s erratic behaviour and his drug use that she decided not to run for re-election to the board of the electric vehicle manufacturer in 2019. However, Mr Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said that he is “regularly and randomly drug tested at SpaceX and has never failed a test.” 

In another incident, some SpaceX executives noticed a change at the company’s event in 2017. Hundreds of employees had gathered around mission control at the rocket company’s headquarters in California, waiting for the Chief, who was nearly an hour late. When he stood on stage, Mr Musk was almost incomprehensible and executives at the event said that he slurred and rambled for around fifteen minutes, calling SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket prototype, or BFR, the “Big F****** Rocket.”  However, Mr Spiro called the incident “false as has been confirmed by countless people who were present.” 

In 2018, Mr Musk landed in trouble with NASA after he was seen consuming marijuana on the Joe Rogan Show. This raised concerns about Mr Musk’s behaviour’s effect on the company and led to random drug tests of SpaceX personnel. 

It is to be noted that any form of illegal drug usage would violate corporate regulations at both SpaceX and Tesla, in addition to breaking federal contracts. It would also cast doubt on Musk’s leadership role at the publicly listed Tesla, where the board is tasked with monitoring management on behalf of shareholders. Many Tesla board members have expressed their worries to one another about the CEO’s alleged drug usage, but they haven’t made any comments that would be included in meeting minutes or on the board’s official agenda. Certain directors, such as Robyn Denholm, the current chair of the Tesla board, have approached Kimbal Musk, a board member of both Tesla and SpaceX until early 2022, seeking assistance over Musk’s conduct, without resorting to using the word “drugs,” as per the report.

Executives are yet to identify the reason for Mr Musk’s unusual behaviour including his 2018 tweet about plans to make Tesla private or when he choked up describing how difficult his year had been. Some attribute it to the use of drugs while others say that it is his chronic lack of sleep, which the billionaire has been vocal about.

Mr Musk on several occasions has stated that he regularly slept at Tesla and X offices and would email company executives in the middle of the night. He added that he works almost non-stop and “vacation”, for him is “a strong word”. 

Author Walter Isaacson characterised Mr Musk’s “demon mode” in a recently published official biography of the billionaire. He said that Elon Musk would often lose his temper and strike out at executives and staff. Mr Musk is cited as saying, “I really don’t like doing illegal drugs,” in the book. 

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