In-Person, Virtual, and Recorded Educational 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
Laura Stack is Johnny Stack’s mom and the Founder & CEO of Johnny’s Ambassadors. In the business world, 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 over 30 years.
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 parents, teens, schools, healthcare, anti-drug coalitions, community-based prevention organizations, corporate wellness programs, and government agencies.
Laura is the recipient of the Drug-Free America Foundation’s Moxie Award for protecting youth from substances, as well as the Leadership in Advocacy Award from the National Speakers Association. 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.
Popular Audiences: 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’s teen presentation tells Johnny’s story and covers the potential harms of today’s high-THC marijuana products to teens. In addition, Laura can talk about protective factors, remaining drug-free, choosing friends, setting goals (short & long-term), self-regulation & boundaries, recognizing risky situations and refusal skills, and communicating with parents/caregivers.
She 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. She was also on the coalition for 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. She is determined to start a movement to bring the harms of teen marijuana use into the spotlight and get teens and young adults to #StopDabbing. Laura’s lifetime mission on earth is to help Johnny share his warning from heaven to keep other teens from following his path to destruction.
“Forge ahead despite your pain and give meaning to your loss.”
– Laura Stack
Keynote Speeches and Seminars
(live or virtual)
Presentation Title Options
Laura’s presentation titles may be changed to fit your conference theme or her topic focus. Here are some examples used previously:
* 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
Laura Stack’s 19-year-old son, Johnny, died by suicide on November 20, 2019 from paranoid delusion from using 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, transparent tale, Stack hopes to use her pain to help parents talk to their children about the dangers of today’s marijuana.
Sample Objectives (customized to your audience and needs):
- Meet Johnny Stack: a Beautiful Boy, a Tragic End
- Learn About the High-Potency Marijuana Products Used by Today’s Youth
- Understand the Negative Effects of Marijuana Use on Adolescents
- Recognize Legalization Loopholes and Regulatory Needs
- Increase Awareness of Harm and Prevent Marijuana Use by Young People
Sample topics 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
Sample topics for teens (30-60 minutes:
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. What Do I Do Now?
15. Protective Factors
16. Remaining Drug-free
17. Choosing Friends
18. Setting goals (short & long-term)
19. Self-Regulation and Boundaries
20. Recognizing Risky Situations and Refusal Skills
21. Communicating with Parents/Caregivers
In the teen version, 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.
When Laura speaks on marijuana issues, her travel expenses are covered through the National Marijuana Initiative (NMI), which 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), which is a component 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. Organizations will make a separate donation to Johnny’s Ambassadors to cover Laura’s presentation, a fair-market value that is set by our Board of Directors. We also offer a video version of Laura’s 45-minute presentation for a $250 donation to be viewed at your group’s convenience.
Email [email protected] for more information on inviting Laura to speak at your meeting. Or fill out our Contact Form with the details of your event.
Partial Client List
Lyme Youth Service Bureau youth Zoom presentation
Suicide Prevention Council of Roanoke Valley
Women at Halftime
Region III Wellness Council, Southwest Virginia
North Platte, Nebraska Substance Abuse Prevention System Coalition
“Life with Liz” radio show
Parents Navigating the Teen Years podcast
YOUth Positively Speaking Podcast
Winooski Partnership for Prevention, Inc.
Central Virginia Addiction and Recovery Resources Coalition
Eternal Leadership Podcast
Drug Free America Foundation 9th Annual Prevention Conference
The Compassionate Friends
Spain PBS television show
Addiction Prevention Coalition of Birmingham
Voices of Women (VOW) NOW New York
Anti 420 day conference
K.C. Strang, San Marcos Prevention Coalition
The Kyle Hyland Foundation for Teen Support – Helping Youth Live A New Day
American Society for Suicidality
Cannabis Convention, Stanford University
Tyler Ahart, DFC Coalition in Oswego, NY
I Have a Dream Foundation, IHDF Boulder Bilingual Online Town Hall
SADD South Dakota chapter
Prevention Council of Roanoke County
BACODA $250 donation
Alcohol, Marijuana, and Prescription Drug (AMPD) Coalition
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 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.
- Parent Suicide Survivor
- 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 eight books by major publishers (with a 9th being written on Johnny’s story)