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Elon Musk smoking weed on Joe Rogan podcast highlights inequality

On Sept. 6, Joe Rogan’s podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” aired featuring a surprising twist. Many have seen the pictures and videos of Rogan’s guest, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, smoking marijuana, drinking whiskey, and wielding a flamethrower. Quickly becoming the source of many memes, Musk’s weed-smoking escapade was quite hilarious to a majority of the American public. However, this behavior can’t be condoned, but not for the reasons one might think.

Tesla’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics states that employees should report to work free from the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. According to the policy, “the use of illegal drugs in the workplace will not be tolerated.” Although marijuana is legal in the state of California, it is still a federal crime.

Because Musk was appearing on a public forum as a notable figurehead of Tesla, he was representing the company. It clearly states that employees should report to work free from the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. Ignoring the legal argument about marijuana, Musk still was drinking while on this podcast and representing Tesla.

Musk is just one example of rich upper-level employee taking advantage of a system which serves to punish the lower class while rewarding the rich. Many celebrities have rushed to Musk’s defense, and he has maintained his position within Tesla while other employees have been fired on far less evidence and with far fewer consequences on the company.

While Musk gets applauded by the public, lower level employees get a kick in the butt or a prison sentence. However, Musk’s actions were not without consequences; consequences that would only affect others.

On the day following the podcast airing, Tesla stock was down a high of 9%, ending the day 6% down. However, that’s not the only disastrous effect of Musk’s actions. He is allegedly also under investigation by the Air Force. Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer that is a contractor for the U.S. Air Force. Smoking marijuana is strictly prohibited for anyone with government security clearance, which Musk has due to his position in SpaceX.

While these are direct consequences of Musk’s actions, it is likely not going to be him who feels any of the effects. If stock goes down too much and the company gets in dangerous waters, it won’t be Musk taking a pay hit to help the company. Lower-level employees will instead be fired or have their significantly smaller salaries take significant cuts. If SpaceX no longer works with the U.S. Air Force, Musk is still the CEO of Tesla and has significant business prospects outside of SpaceX and Tesla.

Ignoring arguments of legality, Musk’s actions are still damnable and have had significant effects on the companies and businesses he is a figurehead for. As someone in a position of power, he should have thought more about what exactly his actions mean for all the people who work for Tesla and SpaceX. This is just another example of how lower-class workers are punished while upper-class employees are lauded.

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