Elon Musk's US security clearance under review after smoking cannabis

Olivia Rudgard
Mr Musk smoked the drug during an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience show in September last year - Joe Rogan Experience/YouTube

Elon Musk's security clearance is under review by the US Department of Defence after he smoked marijuana on a podcast last year. 

The Tesla and SpaceX founder is resubmitting a form which requires government employees or contractors with security clearance to disclose illegal drug use in recent years, Bloomberg reported.

His security clearance is linked to his aerospace company SpaceX, which is launching intelligence satellites for the US government and is planning manned spaceflights for Nasa later this year. Last month SpaceX won a $297m (£226m) contract to launch satellites for the Air Force.

A capsule launched last week with a dummy nicknamed "Ripley" aboard, a reference to the horror film Alien, successfully reached the International Space Station and is due to return to earth this weekend. 

Mr Musk smoked the drug during an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience show in September last year, telling the host that he wasn't a regular user. It is legal in California, where the show was recorded, but still illegal under federal law, and government employees aren't allowed to use it.

A memo circulated in 2014 by former director of national intelligence James Clapper, which is still in force, states that marijuana use "raises questions" about an individual's reliability and suitability for sensitive national security positions. 

A spokesman for the US Department of Defence said: "For privacy and security reasons, we do not publicly discuss individual clearance status."

The incident also prompted Nasa to undertake a safety culture review of SpaceX and Boeing, another company with which it has a commercial contract.