“Were you able to send those documents I asked for?”
The message appeared against the fuzzy blue screen on my rickety phone — the kind that slides apart to reveal the keypad.
Genius billionaire Elon Musk had improvised a code word, “documents,” to disguise why he was texting an underemployed student in their early twenties at a second-rate hippie college.
Thankfully, my rarely-sober brain could keep up, and between binging episodes of Battlestar Galactica, I wrote back to confirm what I am now telling you all: I sold Elon Musk a half sheet of blotter LSD, along with a couple dozen microdots and a vial of liquid acid of indeterminate strength. (And a bit of ecstasy, if my memory serves.)
While I never knew Elon Musk other than through texts and a single phone call, I had become close to people in his inner circle before the opportunity arose to sell him banned substances. His friends in my city constituted a bubble of nouveau-riche tech entrepreneurs, artists, foodies, and Burning Man acolytes.
I remember one big rich-people party where Musk was present, the only time I think we were ever in physical proximity; I spent the evening getting incredibly stoned in a back room off a Volcano vaporizer with an esteemed local chef I’d previously mistaken for a square. I wish I could say more about my experiences with these people, but it’s amazing I remember anything more than doing whip-its, riding my bike, and weird meditation classes.
My main Musk connection, who had been close to him for years, described his partying and drug-use habits to me vividly: he had been using psychedelics regularly for years, with little sign of letting up — and throwing the occasional wild drug party. This is where my services came into play.
I had been selling weed and other mind-altering substances for a few years, to dozens of customers, mostly small-time. Toward the end of my drug-dealing career I had upgraded to bulk sales worth thousands of dollars apiece. When this mutual friend let Musk know I was sitting on an ample stash of psychedelics, he generously chose me as his supplier. My friend encouraged me to set whatever price I wanted; Elon wouldn’t question it. I made about three times what I would have selling to anyone else.
Over the decade since, this one-time exchange with a billionaire has meant little to me other than being a funny anecdote to gain clout at a party, or try to impress a date. But, after witnessing the recent backlash against Musk for smoking weed on live TV, I am realizing it could mean a lot more to some people:
For one thing, what I know about Elon Musk reflects an old truth: The rich get to live under an entirely different set of rules than the rest of us. From supposedly frowned-upon lifestyle activities such as drug use, to the harassment and abuse being addressed by the #MeToo movement and the abuse of children by Catholic priests, rich white men in particular have too often been able to get away with whatever they want.
Shortly after my interaction with Musk, one of my own suppliers received two years’ probation for getting caught with an amount of mushrooms worth less than the package of acid I had mailed to the CEO of Tesla. This, along with other pressures, led me to stop my own legally risky behavior. Something told me guys like Musk wouldn’t pay for my defense lawyer if the FBI kicked in the door to my efficiency apartment.
People I grew up with have been circulating in and out of prison their whole lives over what started as an arrest for a single joint. When I was dealing, it wasn’t unusual to hear about people receiving long sentences for what we were doing, and that hasn’t changed today. Some enthusiasts, including Tim Tyler and Robert Riley, have been sentenced to life without parole for nothing other than being caught three times with LSD.
It feels particularly egregious to me that outrage over Musk’s blunt-puffing is receiving national attention at the same time that a national prison strike is barely covered. Millions of Americans, particularly those who are poor and black or brown, have been incarcerated and abused for substantially smaller “crimes” than Musk’s own drug exploits — let alone any of his questionable business practices.
Having narrowly avoided catching charges myself, I want to take a moment on the ethics of narcing. Telling on someone else’s drug use is generally seen as one of the lowest things a former dealer can do. I have not snitched before, and won’t again. I want to be clear that I take no issue with Mr. Musk using whatever drug he feels like. And, most ex-dealers didn’t sell to people who help shape entire political and economic landscapes. 🤷🏻
For someone who commands an amount of resources that is truly hard to fathom, Musk leaves a lot to be desired. It becomes hard not to see his cosmic explorations as an exercise of his privilege — especially in light of all of his decisions that are worth criticizing, whether it’s his monumental spending for a questionable return, launching a Tesla into space, actually not very good ideas on public transportation, anti-union tactics, donations to conservative causes, personal insults toward people who criticize him, this bizarre argument with a philosophy web comic, or many other missteps, such as the ones documented by this redditor.
Last month, the rapper Azealia Banks asserted that she “waited around all weekend” at Musk’s place while Grimes, a singer-producer he was dating, “coddled [him] for being too stupid to know not to go on [T]witter while on acid.”
Banks retracted her statement, for reasons unknown. But shortly following their spat, Musk smoked weed in public, and he is now under pressure from both his investors and the Air Force. Meanwhile, Tesla employees are up in arms about targeted drug testing in Musk’s organization.
In my mind, the truth is bubbling to the surface, and bound to break sooner or later. I hope that Azealia Banks retracts her retraction, if what she said was true. And I hope that at least a few of the countless people who have been aware of Musk’s hobbies — those who are rich and famous, or those who, like me, are mere extras in their scenes — will step up to confirm what I am saying is true.
I’m hoping others will confirm this for a couple reasons. First, Musk’s lawyers will be less likely to come for little working-class me if others corroborate what I am sharing.
And second, it is about time there was a serious national conversation about why psychedelic drugs are so demonized, what benefits they might have, who is most impacted by their prohibition, and why sloppy, devious tantrum-throwers are allowed to break laws as long as they are ridiculously rich.
Elon, if you end up reading this, I offer you a challenge: Please use your position of influence to fight against the failed experiment of drug prohibition. Many people see you as a great thinker. You could use that platform to boost awareness of research into the therapeutic benefits of MDMA, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and other psychedelics. You could use it to say, publicly, that no one should be locked up for using and sharing the same chemicals that have inspired and motivated your own ideas.
Oh, and yes, Digital Trends, you hit the nail on the head: that acid I sent to Elon Musk was for his entourage to take to Burning Man.
If Musk’s lawyers manage to track down this Tart Toter and offer a six-figure settlement to stay quiet, the money would be donated to FAMM, Families for Justice as Healing, and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, groups fighting for the lives of people who will likely never own an electric car.