- Elon Musk recently tweeted that he wanted to take Tesla private at a price of $420 per share — which many thought was a reference to weed.
- 420 is widely recognised as a coded reference to marijuana.
- But in an interview with the New York Times, Musk said he is no fan of weed, and denied being high while tweeting.
- Musk said he got the figure by sticking a 20% premium on Telsa’s trading price, which came out at $419.
- He said he then added $1 for “better karma.”
Elon Musk has implied that the $420 stock price he floated for taking Tesla private was not a covert reference to weed, contrary to widespread speculation.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
From the Times:
“He said in the interview that he wanted to offer a roughly 20 percent premium over where the stock had been recently trading, which would have been about $419. He decided to round up to $420 — a number that has become code for marijuana in counterculture lore.
“‘It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419,’ he said in the interview. ‘But I was not on weed, to be clear. Weed is not helpful for productivity. There’s a reason for the word “stoned.” You just sit there like a stone on weed.'”
Although not a total denial, Musk’s response steered the conversation definitively away from making a weed connection.
People had been wondering about the weed link because the number 420 is widely understood as a reference to marijuana, a figure born of California drug culture which has since taken on a life of its own. April 20, or 4/20, has a special resonance for many people who use marijuana.
Media outlets like Gizmodo, New York Magazine and CNBC wondered whether Musk’s tweet was a weed reference, or a joke, especially as Tesla initially couldn’t explain whether Musk’s idea was backed up by a serious plan.
In wall-to-wall coverage of the Elon Musk potential troll job, CNBC just had a full-screen graphic of a tweet that said “is this a weed joke.”
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) August 7, 2018
In the interview he also talked about the stress he had been experiencing from overwork, and what he called “the most difficult and painful year of my career.”