A pro-social-justice-for-pot tweet written by Elon Musk last week incited applause — and clapbacks — from all corners of the internet.
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, began the two-part tweet by teasing, “This will probably get me into trouble, but I feel I have to say it.”
This will probably get me into trouble, but I feel I have to say it— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 6, 2020
He continued, “Selling weed literally went from major felony to essential business (open during pandemic) in much of America & yet many are still in prison. Doesn’t make sense, isn’t right.”
Selling weed literally went from major felony to essential business (open during pandemic) in much of America & yet many are still in prison. Doesn’t make sense, isn’t right.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 6, 2020
Although the US government still erroneously considers cannabis a drug as dangerous as heroin, 33 states now permit cannabis for medicinal or recreational use. At the end of March, all US states with regulated recreational weed programs deemed cannabis sales as “essential” during the COVID-19 lockdowns. While most weed-legal states forced many “non-essential” businesses to close at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, essential businesses such as hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gun stores, liquor stores, and — yes — pot shops were allowed to remain open.
Only one state with recreational pot, Massachusetts, forced its adult-use cannabis retailers to close during its lockdowns. Massachusetts’ retailers reopened as of two weeks ago.
On Sunday, Joe Rogan, who has interviewed Musk multiple times on his live video podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, gave his full support to the Tesla CEO via Instagram.
“Elon is right,” Rogan wrote.
In 2018, Musk (in)famously got lit on Rogan’s podcast, hitting a blunt then slipping into a stream-of-consciousness ramble on climate change and space pioneering. The blunt stunt scored Musk some cred with the cannabis community, but it also caused Tesla’s stock price to drop, and it led to a federal safety investigation into SpaceX that cost NASA $5 million. High Times dubbed the Rogan smoke sesh “the most expensive blunt of all time.”
Musk’s latest weed tweet also prompted prominent members of the American and Canadian regulated cannabis industries to request that Musk take the good fight from Twitter into the real-world legal arena.
“@elonmusk please support the @lastprisonerprj which aims to release every nonviolent cannabis prisoner and repair the harms of prohibition,” tweeted Steve DeAngelo, the founder of Harborside, a California cannabis dispensary chain. He’s also a co-founder of The Last Prisoner Project.
Jodie Emery, a pot entrepreneur and activist in Canada, also asked Musk to use his influence to help free cannabis convicts.
“Thank You for saying this, Elon,” Emery tweeted. “Please support the Last Prisoner Project @lastprisonerprj in the USA! And beyond your borders, please support the @CannabisAmnesty campaign in Canada!”
“Cannabis prohibition was a racist police tactic invented by Harry J. Ansligner in the 1930s, and old Ansligner did not stop until he got the United Nations to include cannabis on the list of international controlled substances in the 1960s,” Andrew DeAngelo, brother of Steve DeAngelo and another founder at The Last Prisoner Project, wrote to MERRY JANE in a recent email unrelated to Elon Musk. “Cannabis prohibition never had anything to do with the plant, but had everything to do with the people who used the plant. Old Ansligner has been dead for almost 50 years, and we're still dealing with his legacy.”
While several folks praised Musk for taking a stance against the immoral imprisonment of nonviolent cannabis offenders, other Twitter users took a more confrontational approach.
“Well said,” wrote one Twitter user. “Put your money where your mouth is and #bail them out.”
Well said. Put your money where your mouth is and #bail them out.— LeBrisa Designs 🧢 (@LEBRISA) June 8, 2020
Others criticized Musk for stating an opinion that’s been around for as long as there have been legal weed sales.
“This won’t get you into any trouble because it’s an obvious, boring take that tens of thousands of other people have already suggested,” read one tweet.
This won’t get you into any trouble because it’s an obvious, boring take that tens of thousands of other people have already suggested.— Zac Wasielewski (@xac) June 7, 2020
Another tweet reiterated, “elon literally everyone thinks this, why are you like this dude”
elon literally everyone thinks this, why are you like this dude— porochista khakpour (@PKhakpour) June 7, 2020
Still other tweeters were simply disappointed that Musk’s second tweet didn’t live up to the hype of its prelude.
Not the tweet we were waiting for pic.twitter.com/PbeM9G6d1V— Mohamed Enieb (@its_menieb) June 6, 2020
If anything, the random internet haters’ energy would be better spent demanding why other famous business leaders haven’t thrown their weight behind ending the War on Drugs. (We’re looking at you, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg.)