Elon Musk’s Pentagon review exposes marijuana’s gray area

Elon Musk speaks at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on Sept. 17, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Patrick T. Fallon
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
Elon Musk speaks at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Sept. 17, 2018.

Marijuana may be moving into the mainstream, but it can still get you into trouble.

The Pentagon is reviewing the federal security clearance of Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, following an appearance he made on a podcast last year where he smoked a joint with the show’s host, a US official told Bloomberg News. Musk has a secret-level clearance because of his role as CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, which is certified to launch military satellites.

A person familiar told Bloomberg that Musk has refiled a form that requires federal employees or contractors seeking a clearance to acknowledge drug use over the previous seven years.


The situation with Musk highlights the shifting, and sometimes confusing, regulations and attitudes surrounding cannabis. Demonized for decades, marijuana is now legal federally across Canada. Ten US states have allowed adult use, and about two dozen more have approved medical access.

Still, weed is banned by the US government and listed alongside heroin as an illicit substance. That’s created a host of hurdles for investors and US companies, and given Canada a first-mover advantage in the legal market.