Who Are We? Johnny’s Ambassadors is a non-partisan, non-profit, grass-roots alliance of individuals and organizations around the globe concerned about the harms of youth marijuana use. We are parents, coalitions, impacted family members, healthcare professionals, teachers, and nonprofits who seek to reduce youth marijuana use through education, prevention, and awareness. We use evidence-based, scientific research and experts to teach the impacts of today’s high-THC marijuana on youth mental illness and suicide ideation. Our allied organizations come together to save the lives of our youth, and Johnny’s Ambassadors actively promotes their activities.
Our Mission: Johnny’s Ambassadors educates parents and teens about the risks of today’s high-THC marijuana on adolescent brain development, mental illness, and suicide. Research shows today’s high-potency marijuana causes mental health issues and higher incidence of suicide when used recreationally and illegally under 21 years of age.
Our Vision: To dramatically decrease the incidence of adolescent marijuana and substance abuse, mental illness, and suicide, to allow our youth to live productive, happy lives.
What is an Ambassador? “A person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.” Ambassadors share our passion to protect youth from the harms of marijuana. Ambassadors are individuals and organizations who are committed to reducing adolescent marijuana abuse, mental health, and suicide.
Why use the name Johnny? Personification is “a person, animal, or object regarded as representing or embodying a quality, concept, or thing; the representation of an abstract concept in human form.” Johnny was the 19-year-old son of the founder, who died by suicide from paranoid delusion from using high-potency marijuana dabs. The name Johnny, to us, represents ALL adolescents who suffer similar substance abuse, mental illness, and suicidal ideation. Luckily, Johnny is a fairly generic name. Johnny’s Ambassadors spread his warning, “Marijuana ruined my mind and my life.”
How is Johnny’s Ambassadors funded? We are solely funded by donations from private individuals and businesses. We receive no grants or government funding.
Who runs Johnny’s Ambassadors? The Founder & CEO of Johnny’s Ambassadors is Laura Stack, Johnny’s mom. Before losing Johnny, she was a successful 30-year businesswoman, professional speaker, and published author with two for-profit organizations.
In Laura’s Words: If you’re a regular visitor to Johnny’s Ambassadors blog, you no doubt know Johnny’s story, and the stimulus for my fight against marijuana use by young people. For those who may read this in other venues and don’t know me, I’m a concerned, grieving mother, who is active in the movement to discourage young people from using marijuana in any form until their brains are formed—and hopefully never. My family and I live in Colorado, one of the first states in America to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. This released a flood of pot onto our streets, and our government regulation failed to limit it to adult users. It soon spread like a plague into our adolescent population. Any high schooler can get high-potency dabs in five minutes here in Colorado.
Johnny had a 4.0 GPA and a perfect 800/800 score on the SAT math portion. He attended church and youth group and did regular family things. At 14, Johnny began smoking marijuana when he attended a high school party and wanted to try getting high with his friends. At 16, he moved on to dabbing high-THC products like wax and shatter. At 18, he experienced psychosis and delusional episodes, a suicide attempt, and by 19, full-blown schizophrenia (the psychosis didn’t resolve when the marijuana was withdrawn). Tragically, despite our repeated efforts at rehab and support, he refused to take the antipsychotic medication he now needed, and he died by suicide on November 20, 2019, convinced the mob was after him and “everyone knew everything about him.”
As Johnny said in his college essay describing his most important value, “To me, altruism means being selfless or giving to other people, even when there may be nothing to gain and something to lose. Altruistic people do things for the collective interest instead of their own.” Johnny’s Ambassadors are joined in altruistic solidarity to save the lives of our youth from the harms of marijuana.
“Forge ahead despite your pain and give meaning to your loss.” – Laura Stack