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Mr. Morton is the latest Tesla executive to leave the company, which has seen key engineering, technical and sales executives depart.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk at a news conference on February 6.

The exchange between podcast host Joe Rogan and Musk is one to remember. "You ever had that?"

"You probably can't because of stockholders", Rogan joked, to which Musk reasoned, "I mean it's legal, right?"

This time, the Tesla billionaire puffed on a marijuana joint during the recording of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Marijuana is legal for recreational use in the state of California, although it's still illegal federally.

He has denied he was smoking weed when he sent his now infamous tweet on August 7 claiming he had secured funding to take Tesla private. But the abrupt U-turn on the shocking proposal sparked federal investigations, shareholder lawsuits and whistleblower complaints.

The company, hurt in the past month by Musk's high-profile U-turn on a deal to take it private, said Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton had resigned, citing discomfort with the level of public attention and pace of work.

"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", he added.

They also discussed Musk's public persona and social media activity.

Tesla's stock and bond prices dropped on Wednesday - linked to the row over Musk's comments about Mr Unsworth but also following an unveiling by Mercedes that presents a challenge to the electric auto maker. Morton had only been on the job for a month, and joined Tesla from harddrive company Seagate.

Bloomberg also reported Tesla's Chief People Officer Gaby Toledano would not return from a holiday just over a year after joining.

At least 48 executives have left the company this year.

Shares of Tesla were down as much as 10 percent in early Friday trade, the biggest percent drop for the company since June 2016.


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