As some Tesla watchers suspected, CEO Elon Musk had a hidden meaning behind the $420-per-share figure he announced last week for taking Tesla private.
In an interview with the New York Times, Musk said 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, the report said.
“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," he said.
Musk has a long history of making drug-related jokes on his Twitter account, suggesting the possibility that his tweet about a $420 per share acquisition could be a reference to cannabis use.
The number 420 has long been associated with the consumption of cannabis, and the subculture around it although the roots of the number’s relevance to that context are obscure or apocryphal.
Musk’s history of making apparent drug-related jokes on Twitter dates back to at least July of 2016, when he tweeted that “trick” for staying awake through long hours of work was “large amounts of crack.”
In June of 2017 he tweeted about combining the sleep aid drug Ambien with red wine (a combination that American Addiction Centers considers dangerous) and in October of 2017 he tweeted about “[partying] like Escobar and Cobain wish they could’ve partied,” an apparent reference to the heroin abuse of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain and the cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.
In April of this year, he tweeted that “most people don’t know this, but comets r mostly made of cocaine.”
Edward Niedermeyer and Reuters contributed to this report.