Elon Musk's Pot Smoking Cost NASA $5M

Agency covers cost of drug education at SpaceX after he lit up on podcast
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2019 4:29 PM CDT
Updated Oct 18, 2019 5:32 PM CDT
Boeing Is on Its Own, but NASA Pays for SpaceX Culture Review
Elon Musk talks to the media at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, last week.   (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

NASA ordered a review of the SpaceX workplace and culture last year to make sure its employees weren't using illegal drugs—a $5 million assignment the government paid for. Boeing, also a government contractor, had to have the same review and pay for the job itself. The company doesn't know yet what that tab will be. The NASA order was issued after Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, smoked marijuana on a podcast last year, reports Politico, which examined contractor records. Use of illegal drugs violates a government security clearance, which Musk has, even if the drug is legal in that state. The review includes employee education and interviews of workers at all levels of the company.

When the reviews were announced by NASA in 2018, SpaceX said it already had policies to cover the issue. "Our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements," the company said, per Mashable. NASA wouldn't say why it didn't offer to pay for the review at Boeing. A retired Air Force officer and space strategist told Politico that Boeing must wonder, "Why am I being punished without the same compensation?'" The two companies are competing to build a new NASA capsule, and both are behind schedule. (Read more SpaceX stories.)

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