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Elon Musk's $420 target for Tesla stock probably wasn't a reference to weed (TSLA)

Bill Bostock
elon musk

Mark Brake / Getty Images


  • 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," giving him $420.

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.

In an interview with The New York Times, Musk also said that he was not high at the time he first mentioned the go-private plan in a tweet that quickly landed him in hot water.

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1026872652290379776?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.

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, and offered an alternative explanation.

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 were among those to wonder whether Musk's tweet was a weed reference, or even a joke, especially as Tesla initially couldn't explain whether Musk's idea was backed up by a serious plan.

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1026908611442892801?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
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."

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."

You can read the full interview at The New York Times.

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