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Tesla’s Musk, already in the regulatory weeds, takes it a step further

Tesla’s Musk, already in the regulatory weeds, takes it a step further

Is Elon Musk poking the federal bear?

Mr. Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., was already facing scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about a since-abandoned proposal to take the electric car manufacturer private, which he disclosed via a personal tweet rather than in a regulatory filing. The surprise Twitter announcement has led to two putative class action lawsuits filed against him and his firm regarding whether Mr. Musk had in fact secured funding for his plan and accused him of violating securities laws.

Now, in the latest spate of bad news for the company, Tesla shares have dropped sharply after the company disclosed that its chief of accounting was leaving the company after being on board for only a few weeks, becoming the latest in an executive exodus.

The news followed a live YouTube appearance in which Mr. Musk appeared to smoke a marijuana cigarette during an interview with comedian and marijuana legalization advocate Joe Rogan, who asked if smoking on air would cause issues with stockholders.

Mr. Musk responded, “It’s legal, right?” and then took a puff.

Marijuana is legal both medicinally and recreationally in the state of California where the interview took place. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions is known for his opposition to legalizing marijuana. In January, the Department of Justice issued a statement telling all U.S. attorneys to enforce the Controlled Substances Act, a law on the books since 1970 that classifies marijuana as an illegal drug. The announcement reversed an Obama administration stance — known as the Cole Memorandum — that told states the federal government would not enforce the statute when it comes to marijuana.

Not exactly keeping a low profile.


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