Some of the critics of Musk’s behavior point out that smoking marijuana violates the conduct policy of the company which states: “Tesla also asks that you do your part by following safety and health rules and practices and reporting (either openly or confidentially) accidents or any unsafe equipment, behavior (such as use of illegal drugs) or conditions to your manager, supervisor, Human Resources or the Legal Department. Violence and threatening behavior are not permitted, and under no circumstances should you bring a weapon to work. Employees should report to work without being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. The use of illegal drugs in the workplace will not be tolerated.” While the podcast was recorded in California, where the use of marijuana for recreational use is legal, the US federal laws still find smoking marijuana illegal. During President Obama, certain regulations were introduced according to which the Justice Department wouldn’t pursue cases of marijuana use in states where it is illegal. Those regulations have been rolled back under the current administration, so technically there are grounds for seeing Musk’s behavior as the violation of the conduct policy.
Elon Musk defended his actions in a letter to The Guardian in which he writes: “Our policy allows trace amounts of THC during work times, provided they are below the safety limit (much like a minimum alcohol level).” Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to stop a chain of events that caused the price of Tesla’s shares to drop at the lowest level for the year. The shares dropped 6% after two of the senior executives at the company announced they would quit in response to Musk’s actions.