Pot Topics: Tesla shares tank after CEO Musk appears to smoke cannabis

SHARE Pot Topics: Tesla shares tank after CEO Musk appears to smoke cannabis

Tesla CEO Elon Musk smokes cannabis during an interview | From The Joe Rogan Experience YouTube channel

Pot Topics is a weekly collection of cannabis-related news curated by the Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s this week’s top stories:

  • Tesla stock goes up in smoke after Elon Musk hits joint on video
  • Prosecutor’s proposal could wipe out 20,000 pot convictions in NYC
  • Plan to decriminalize pot in Gary, Indiana fails by single vote
  • Lake County Cannabis Expo to bring together experts, patients and pot industry insiders

Elon Musk takes a hit, then Tesla stock does

Shares of electric car maker Tesla Inc. fell more than 6 percent early Friday after CEO Elon Musk appeared to smoke pot during an interview.

During his overnight appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Musk puffs on a joint, which Rogan notes is legal in California.

Shortly after smoking, Musk looks at his phone and laughs, telling Rogan he was getting texts from friends asking why he was smoking weed during the interview. Later, Musk says he doesn’t feel any effect from the joint, claiming he rarely smokes pot.

As the video went viral, more news hit: Tesla announced that Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton resigned after a month on the job, citing public attention and the fast pace of the post.

Morton detailed his exit in Tesla’s recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations,” the company quoted Morton in the filing. “As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future.”

“I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla’s leadership or its financial reporting,” Morton was quoted as saying.

The company is under extreme pressure to turn a sustained net profit starting this quarter, as Musk has promised. But in the second quarter it burned through $739.5 million in cash and lost a quarterly record $717.5 million.

Brooklyn prosecutor wants to wipe out past pot convictions

An officer cuts open what he believes is a cigarette containing marijuana during a stop in Hammond, Indiana in 2014. | Jim Karczewski/Sun-Times file

An officer cuts open what he believes is a cigarette containing marijuana during a traffic stop. | Jim Karczewski/Sun-Times file

Tens of thousands of low-level marijuana convictions could be erased with the OK of Brooklyn’s top prosecutor, under a new plan for wiping records clean of offenses no longer being prosecuted in parts of the nation’s biggest city.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is inviting people to request conviction dismissals. He expects fellow prosecutors to consent in most of the potential 20,000 cases since 1990 and an unknown number of older ones.

To Gonzalez, whose office has stopped prosecuting most cases involving people accused of having small amounts of pot, it’s only right to nix convictions that wouldn’t be pursued now.

“It’s a little unfair to say we’re no longer prosecuting these cases, but to have these folks carry these convictions for the rest of their lives,” the Democrat said ahead of a planned announcement Friday.

The Brooklyn initiative envisions a case-by-case wipeout of thousands of convictions obtained under a law that still stands.

New York allows marijuana-derived medications for some conditions, but recreational pot remains illegal, although Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed a panel to draft legislation that could legalize it.

Proposal to decriminalize pot in Gary falls short

AP file photo

AP file photo

A proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Gary, Indiana fell one vote short of passage amid concerns that it would overstep state law.

Gary City Council members voted 4-4 this week on the proposal to reduce the criminal penalty for marijuana possession in the city by lowering the fine to $100 for people found in possession of 15 grams or less of pot. It also would have eliminated jail time.

Councilwoman Lavetta Sparks-Wade tells The Times of Northwest Indiana she abstained from voting because the council’s attorney advised the council that it would circumvent state law.

Council attorney Rinzer Williams says the proposal was “a glaring attempt to usurp” Indiana’s restrictive home rule law that bars local municipalities from reducing penalties outlined in state criminal statute.

Lake County Cannabis Expo will bring together pot patients and professionals

Attendees at last year’s Lake County Cannabis Expo. | Provided photo

Attendees at last year’s Lake County Cannabis Expo. | Provided photo

The 2nd annual Lake County Cannabis Expo is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. Sunday at 175 E. Hawthorne Parkway in north suburban Vernon Hills.

The exhibition— which brings together patients, physicians and some of the top players in Illinois’ pot industry— is hosted by PDI Medical, a cannabis dispensary in neighboring Buffalo Grove.

Attendees will be able to register for medical marijuana cards, take cannabis cooking classes and browse displays featuring CBD oils, smoking devices and other products.

Top Illinois pot cultivators, including Cresco Labs and Green Thumb Industries, will have booths at the expo alongside PDI Medical and Elevele, a dispensary in Highland Park that’s co-sponsoring the event.

Scheduled speakers include:

  • Dr. Leslie Mendoza-Temple, the former chair of the now-defunct Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
  • Dr. Fernando Soler, a physician who has used medical cannabis to treat patients with a variety of conditions, including chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Melanie Dillion, a certified drug and alcohol counselor who will discuss how marijuana can be used as an alternative to opioid painkillers.
  • Colin Bond, a Marine Corps veteran and medical cannabis patient.

Other upcoming cannabis events in the Chicago area:

Send any pot-related tips or comments to tschuba@suntimes.com.

Here’s some of the Sun-Times’ other cannabis coverage:

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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