In-Person, Virtual, and Recorded Presentations by Laura Stack, Johnny’s mom
“This was truly the best presentation I’ve seen to date on the current state of marijuana. Those of us who work in prevention need to fully understand what you shared with us.”
– Carie Wimberly, Executive Director, Addiction Prevention Coalition
“I was very moved to hear your story, and I am very grateful for the fact that you have been so dedicated to teaching teens about the downfalls of marijuana; from what I have learned, the negatives definitely outweigh the minimal, short-term positives. I have found this course to be very informing, and I never knew that the effects of smoking marijuana could be so severe.” – A high school teen in NJ
Laura Stack is Johnny Stack’s mom and the Founder & CEO of Johnny’s Ambassadors. In the business world for the previous 30 years, Laura was better known by her professional moniker, The Productivity Pro®. She is a Hall-of-Fame Speaker and corporate spokesperson for many major brands. Laura is a bestselling author of eight books on productivity and performance topics with a large social media following, and she has given keynote speeches and training seminars to major corporate, association, and government audiences for three decades.
On November 20, 2019, Laura suddenly acquired the undesired wisdom of knowing what it’s like to lose one’s child, when her 19-year-old son, Johnny, died by suicide. He became psychotic after dabbing high-potency marijuana concentrates and thought the mob was after him.
Laura’s world took a 180. She filed for and received 501c3 nonprofit status for Johnny’s Ambassadors, Inc., with the mission to educate parents and teens about the dangers of today’s high-THC marijuana on adolescent brain development, mental illness, and suicide. She wrote the blockbuster book, The Dangerous Truth About Today’s Marijuana: Johnny Stack’s Life and Death Story, with 300 pages about what happened. Described as a woman with unstoppable drive and unwavering purpose, Laura hopes to help other parents, grandparents, teachers (and frankly all adults with teens in their lives) by honestly and boldly sharing Johnny’s story of his high-potency marijuana use, psychosis, and suicide.
The devastating loss of her child gives Laura a powerful voice and a platform for change. Laura sees it as her responsibility to share Johnny’s warning to prevent other families from having to go through what she did and save other young lives.
Laura’s platform now brings marijuana education, awareness, and prevention curriculum around the U.S. to raise awareness of THC use, mental illness, and suicide. She presents live and virtual keynotes, breakout sessions, and training for substance misuse prevention coalitions, parents, teens, schools, healthcare, community-based prevention organizations, corporate wellness programs, and government agencies.
Laura is the recipient of the 2020 Drug-Free America Foundation’s Moxie Award for protecting youth from substances, the 2021 Leadership in Advocacy Award from the National Speakers Association, and the 2022 Loss Survivor of the Year award from the American Association of Suicidology. By sharing Johnny’s own warning about marijuana, Laura is determined to start a movement to bring teen marijuana use, mental illness, and suicide into the spotlight and get them to #StopDabbing.
Laura lives with her husband near Denver, Colorado and has two surviving adult children, ages 26 and 20.
Parents, students, educators, community-based organizations, school administrators, healthcare providers, therapists, school resource officers, drug-prevention specialists, law enforcement, coalitions, and anyone else working with youth. Laura is generally the opening keynote/general session speaker but also offers breakout sessions and webinars.
“One of the best presentations I have ever heard in my 10+ years working in child welfare/prevention. I am STILL thinking about it and have shared with others. You are amazing.”
– SARAH WIEDENHOEFT / AMP Statewide Coordinator, IA
Laura’s presentation titles may be changed to fit your conference theme or her topic focus. Here are some previous presentation titles:
- The Dangerous Truth About Today’s Marijuana: Johnny Stack’s Life and Death Story
- A Parent’s Worst Nightmare: How My Son Died from Marijuana Psychosis
- Saving Our Youth from the Harms of Marijuana: Adolescent Brain Development, Mental Health, and Suicide
- Legalized Marijuana’s Impact in Colorado: the Experiment on Our Youth and Bill 1317
- The Gifts of Grief: How I Survived My 19-Year-Old Son’s Suicide
Program Description: Adult/Parent Version
Laura Stack’s 19-year-old son, Johnny, died by suicide on November 20, 2019, after becoming delusional from dabbing high-THC marijuana concentrates. Soon afterward, Laura started a 501c3, Johnny’s Ambassadors, to educate parents and teens about the dangers of today’s high-THC marijuana on adolescent brain development, mental illness, and suicide. In this session, Laura will share the story of Johnny’s marijuana addiction from a parent’s point of view, a poignant chronicle of the shocking descent from innocence to eventual suicide. Before marijuana, Johnny was a computer whiz with a 4.0 GPA and a perfect math score on the SAT. After marijuana, he stole his family dog from the home and threatened to kill it without payment from his mother. With moving candor, Laura traces the first warning signs, their attempts at rehabilitation, her desperation, and his eventual demise. Three days before his death, Johnny issued his own warning about marijuana usage. Through this tragic tale, Stack hopes to use her pain to help parents talk to their children about the dangers of today’s marijuana. Participants will hear a first-hand account of the death of a teen from marijuana use and be educated on the harms of marijuana on adolescent brain development, mental illness, and suicide. Laura’s real-life story is backed by recent scientific-based research on how today’s potent THC products lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, psychosis, and sadly, suicidal ideation. This presentation is a clarion call for parents across America to educate themselves about the risks of today’s high-THC marijuana products and to better understand the potentially devastating effects on youth mental health.
- Learn About the High-Potency Marijuana Products Used by Today’s Youth
- Discover the Effect of THC on Adolescent and Teen Brain Development
- See the Results of Legalizing Medical Marijuana for 18-Year-Old’s in Colorado
- Understand How Adolescent Marijuana Use Can Lead to Mental Illness and Psychosis
- Understand the Connection Between Marijuana and Suicide in Youth
Program Description: Teen/Student Version
Laura Stack’s 19-year-old son, Johnny, died by suicide on November 20, 2019, after becoming delusional from dabbing high-THC marijuana concentrates. Soon afterward, Laura started a nonprofit organization, Johnny’s Ambassadors, to educate parents and teens about the dangers youth marijuana use. Before marijuana, Johnny was a computer whiz with a 4.0 GPA and a perfect math score on the SAT. After marijuana, he stole his family dog from the home and threatened to kill it without payment from his mother. Three days before his death, Johnny issued his own warning about his marijuana usage. Through this tragic tale, Stack hopes to help teens understand how marijuana can harm them. Laura’s teen presentation tells Johnny’s story and covers the potential harms of today’s high-THC marijuana products to teens.
- Who’s Johnny?
- “Then” vs. “Now” marijuana
- Why do youth use marijuana?
- Is marijuana medicine?
- Adolescent brain development (with videos)
- Impacts of THC use on adolescents (cartoon series)
- Risks of mental illness, psychosis, and suicide
- How the marijuana industry markets to youth (with media examples)
- Fact Versus Fiction: play the marijuana FACT or CRAP gameshow
- You are your brain’s BFF: take care of it
- Recognizing risky situations and learning refusal skills
“Forge ahead despite your pain and give meaning to your loss.” – Laura Stack
Keynote Speeches and Seminars
(live or virtual)
“Dear Laura, I just finished listening to the webinar you did for us and had to take a moment to thank you. Thank you for your passion and persistence. This webinar was the best I have ever attended. The information you shared was priceless, practical, and will save lives. There were so many takeaways for me but this one says it all: “Silence implies permission.” Your passion has re-ignited my passion to not be silent about marijuana and the many other issues we address. I am so sorry for your loss of Johnny, an amazing son! Thank you for sharing his life with all of us. Gratefully,
– Jean Schumm, President & Founder, Operation Parent”
Other Topic Options for Adults (one to three hours):
1. Who’s Johnny? A Beautiful Boy, a Beautiful Life
2. Let’s Talk About Dabbing
3. Understanding the High-Potency Marijuana Products Used by Today’s Youth
4. High-Potency Marijuana and Adolescent Brain Formation
5. The Impacts of Marijuana Use on Adolescents
6. Addiction and Cannabis Use Disorder
7. The Result of Legalizing Medical Marijuana for 18-Year-Old’s
8. How the Pot Industry Markets to Youth
9. The Impacts of Growing Up in Colorado: Legalization Loopholes and Regulatory Needs
10. How Colorado House Bill 1317 Protects Our Children in a Legal Marketplace
11. How Parents Can Tell if Their Child is Using Marijuana
12. How Teens are Using Snapchat to Sell Marijuana to Classmates
13. Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Psychosis
14. The Marijuana and Suicide Connection
15. What Can Parents Do to Prevent Marijuana Use?
16. Executing on Community-Based Action Plans (Productivity)
17. The Death of a Son and Birth of a Mission: Be One of Johnny’s Ambassadors
Other Topic Options for Teens
In her teen presentation, Laura uses photos of Johnny, cartoons with Johnny as the main character, superhero characters, bright colors, and hand-drawn whiteboard videos to engage teens in the learning.
1. Who’s Johnny?
2. Cannabis, Marijuana, THC, and CBD: How Are They Related?
3. Fact Versus Fiction: Marijuana Myths
4. What Is Dabbing (No, Not The Dance)
5. Why Are Concentrates So Harmful?
6. What Are The Impacts of Using Marijuana on Teens?
7. How Does Your Brain Develop As You Age?
8. How Is Brain Development Impacted By THC?
9. Is Marijuana “Medicine”?
10. How Does the Marijuana Industry Trick Kids Into Using It?
11. What Does Psychosis Look Like?
12. Can Marijuana Make Kids Feel Suicidal?
13. You Are Your Brain’s BFF: Take Care Of It
14. Recognizing Risky Situations and Refusal Skills
15. Communicating with Parents/Caregivers
Program on “Medical” Marijuana
Laura also speaks about “Medical” Marijuana to legislators and what happens when an 18-year-old young person like Johnny is legally able to get a medical marijuana card for “chronic pain” and re-sell it illegally to others. Laura was on the large coalition that passed Colorado House Bill 21-1317, which put important guardrails in place to protect our youth and regulate marijuana concentrates in legal markets. She addresses the dangers of today’s high-THC marijuana on adolescent brain development from illegal use of marijuana by minors and NOT the legal use of adults over the age of 21. Her goal in all her talks is to raise awareness of the connection between adolescent THC use, mental illness, and suicide.
When Laura speaks on marijuana issues, you do not have to pay extra for her travel expenses, as they are covered by the National Marijuana Initiative (NMI). NMI is administered through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA), which is a drug-prohibition enforcement program of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), part of the Executive Office of the President. The ONDCP works to reduce drug use and its consequences by leading and coordinating the development, implementation, and assessment of U.S. drug policy.
Our board of directors suggests a fair-market value honorarium for Laura’s presentations. Please contact us for current rates (we will try hard to work with your budget).
IN-PERSON presentation: daily rate includes expenses
VIRTUAL WEBINAR presentation: complimentary use of our GoToWebinar platform if desired
VIDEO VIEWING: $250 (license to show a prior presentation to your group)
Pre/Post Results After a Presentation at a NJ High School March 2022
Positive % increases represent improvements in these numbers (some are reverse scored). We can run this same survey before and after Laura’s presentation at your school as well.
Spokesperson. She is or has been a spokesperson for Fellowes, Xerox, Dannon, Belvita, Microsoft, 3M, WB Mason, Office Depot, QVC, and Day-Timer.
Media-savvy: Laura has appeared on CNN, QVC, CBS “This Morning,” Fox News, and countless local and national TV and radio programs, as well as in print and web publications such as People Magazine, USA Today, CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Platform. Laura has given 60-80 keynote speeches and seminars a year for nearly 30 years. She has 28K+ twitter followers and 15K+ LinkedIn followers.
Prestigious client base. Her productivity-improvement programs have helped 500+ clients such as Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Heinz, IBM, Aramark, and VISA.
Notoriety. Laura enjoys a high profile, visible industry presence as a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. She was the 2011-2012 President of the National Speakers Association and on its board for 10 years.
- Calvina Fay MOXIE Award winner from the Drug-Free America Foundation
- QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper
- LivingWorks Start Training in Suicide Prevention
- Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification
- Hall of Fame keynote speaker, CPAE
- Certified Speaking Professional, CSP
- Masters of Business Administration, MBA
- Past President of the National Speakers Association
- Experienced media authority
- Experienced with obtaining high-level sponsors and partnerships
- Spokesperson for large brands
- Large existing community of followers
- Author of nine books by major publishers including The Dangerous Truth About Today’s Marijuana: Johnny Stack’s Life and Death Story.