September 7, 2018 / 1:23 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 2-Tesla's Musk smokes marijuana on comedy podcast

(Adds executive departures, share price)

By Nivedita Balu and Ismail Shakil

Sept 7 (Reuters) - Tesla Inc’s Chief Exeuctive Officer Elon Musk provoked another Twitter storm on Friday after briefly smoking marijuana on a live web show with comedian Joe Rogan.

The forty-seven year old billionaire spent two and a half hours on a podcast late Thursday discussing everything from artificial intelligence and its impact on humankind to flame throwers and social media.

Taking a puff from a joint - which Rogan said was a blend of tobacco and marijuana and legal in California - Musk said he “almost never” smoked.

“I’m not a regular smoker of weed,” Musk said. “I don’t actually notice any effect ... I don’t find that it is very good for productivity.”

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

Musk stunned investors a month ago with tweets saying he had funding to take the company private for $420 per share. He then backed off from his plan saying Tesla was better off as a public company.

He followed it up with fresh attacks on British cave diver Vernon Unsworth. Buzzfeed News reported earlier in the week that Musk, in an email to the news site, called Unsworth a “child rapist.”

Neither Tesla nor Musk have commented on the Buzzfeed report.

Musk apologized to Unsworth in July for similar insults he made on Twitter following the rescue of a dozen Thai schoolboys and their football coach from a cave in Thailand.

The billionaire’s behavior has raised concerns about his leadership and several Wall Street analysts have called for the company to appoint a strong No. 2 to prop up Tesla’s operations and standing with investors.

His followers on Twitter went into a frenzy following the podcast. Several followers questioned if it was against the company’s policy, while others mocked the CEO’s initial $420 bid, a number that has become code for marijuana.

"Elon getting high on weed and whiskey is the first reason to go long on $TSLA in a while. He needs to relax a bit," a tweet bit.ly/2M5PdAo by user @jkmcnk said.

Another user tweeted bit.ly/2MT7aY4: "This guy is completely off the rails."

Just hours after the show, the company said its chief accounting officer had resigned, citing discomfort with the level of public attention in the company. Separately, Bloomberg reported that the company’s chief people officer was leaving.

Shares of Tesla fell as much as 10 percent to $252.25 in morning trade, setting the stock for its worst day since June 2016.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Writing by Sweta Singh; Editing by Bernard Orr

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