The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that Prominent entrepreneur Elon Musk has come under scrutiny as some executives and board members express concerns over his reported use of illegal drugs, including LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, mushrooms, and ketamine. Individuals close to Musk worry that this behavior may not only pose risks to his health but could also impact the success of the six companies he oversees, including Tesla and SpaceX.
Allegedly, Musk has engaged in drug use at private parties worldwide, where attendees are required to sign nondisclosure agreements or surrender their phones. Despite Musk’s public admission of smoking marijuana and having a prescription for ketamine, recent reports suggest that his drug use persists, particularly concerning his consumption of ketamine.
The potential consequences extend beyond personal health, as illegal drug use could violate federal policies, putting SpaceX’s substantial government contracts at risk. Musk’s pivotal role in his companies raises concerns about potential damage to assets, including around $1 trillion in investments, tens of thousands of jobs, and crucial parts of the U.S. space program.
Reports indicate that former Tesla director Linda Johnson Rice opted not to seek re-election in 2019 due to concerns about Musk’s erratic behavior and alleged drug consumption. Although Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, asserts that he undergoes regular and random drug testing at SpaceX and has never failed, doubts linger around the impact of his behavior on the companies he leads.
Some incidents have intensified these concerns, such as Musk’s behavior during a SpaceX all-hands meeting in 2017, where executives reported him as incoherent and slurring his words. Another turning point occurred in 2018 when Musk smoked marijuana on a public podcast, leading to NASA’s scrutiny and random drug tests for SpaceX employees.
Tesla’s code of conduct designates the company as a drug-free workplace, and SpaceX’s contracts with the U.S. government adhere to the Drug-Free Workplace Act. Musk’s security clearance at SpaceX, granting access to classified information, further emphasizes the potential risks associated with illegal drug use.
Board members at Musk’s companies have grappled with how to address substance abuse concerns, especially given Musk’s business success. Investors have largely overlooked these concerns during periods of strong company performance. However, some directors privately discussed the possibility of Musk taking a leave of absence during tumultuous incidents, like the tweet about taking Tesla private.
While Musk and others attribute his unconventional behavior to mental health challenges and stress, questions persist about the role of drug use. The issue is complicated by the close relationships between Musk and board members, who attend parties and travel together. Concerns have been raised about potential impacts on business decisions, leading to informal inquiries about Musk’s well-being.
As Elon Musk’s companies continue to thrive, the debate surrounding his behavior, mental health, and alleged drug use adds a layer of complexity for investors, board members, and the broader business community.