Do you know what 420 Day is? Why is today meaningful? And more importantly, where will your teen be at 4:20 PM today? The answer is…probably at home due to COVID-19…thankfully.
Because today, 4/20, is International Weed Day, the day people around the world celebrate a drug that remains illegal in the U.S.: marijuana. 420 Day started in 1971, when a group of five teenagers would smoke weed every day at 4:20 PM, after school and before their parents got home. You can read about its origins here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/420_(cannabis_culture).
There are websites dedicated to helping people find all the 420 events around the U.S.: https://potguide.com/420/. Last year, Denver Civic Center Park hosted the Mile High 420 Festival, an annual event run by the marijuana industry. They say the “recommended” age is 18, even though recreational marijuana is illegal for anyone under 21 in Colorado. So, many teens attended this event, without their parents’ knowledge, and your teens are happy that you don’t know about it.
If you’re reading this, wrinkling your brow in confusion, and thinking, “What? I’ve never heard of 420 Day, and why does that matter to me? I’m 40 (50, 60, 70) years old and don’t smoke marijuana.” The point is that EVERYONE under the age of 25 knows what 420 Day is, and you probably didn’t. If you’re a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle or have adolescents in your life, you need to understand what this holiday is, so you can discuss it with them intelligently when you hear the term. This isn’t a “drug culture thing” or “pro-pot” industry term. Most parents are in the dark. I was in the dark. I wish someone would have told me what 420 Day was.
My son, Johnny, died by suicide exactly five months ago today from delusion and paranoid schizophrenia caused by dabbing high-THC marijuana concentrates. You can read about dabbing here: https://www.justthinktwice.gov/facts-about-marijuana-concentrates. Today’s high-potency marijuana is very different from the version you grew up with. Even one hit of THC carries risk for inducing psychosis: https://www.medpagetoday.com/psychiatry/generalpsychiatry/85472
If you have a medical marijuana card or if you’re over 21 years old and using it legally, that’s your business. I’m talking about CHILDREN here, whose brains don’t finish forming until they are well into their 20’s. Adults must understand what marijuana does to the development of the adolescent mind. We need our children to NOT use recreational marijuana as a coping mechanism during stressful times like these! Someday, your teen will have “that friend” who shows up with a dab at a party someday soon. Have you prepared your young adults to know how to respond?
To help you, we are excited to announce that we just filed for our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for Johnny’s Ambassadors, Inc.!
Our mission is to provide instruction and education to parents and children about the dangers of high-potency THC on the developing brain, adolescent mental health, and suicidal ideation.
We are gathering first-hand video testimonials from young adults who have personally experienced psychosis, mental health issues, and/or suicide attempts because of high-THC marijuana products. Among other initiatives, we aim to create an 8-week curriculum of these videos for middle and high school counselors to show their students during access time to educate them about today’s THC products, why it’s different from “your mother’s weed,” how to recognize it, understand what it can do to your brain, and be ready to make wise decisions when it’s offered to them.
Concurrently, we will educate parents about these products and encourage conversations with their children, as well as provide resources for those already struggling. Adolescents can take the pledge to stay away from pot and share their goals with their parents, with an optional incentive for sobriety. This curriculum will provide alternative coping strategies for anxiety and depression, including counseling, legitimate prescription medications, exercise, and other resources.
Our goal is to prevent any other senseless deaths like that of our son Johnny, who died by suicide because of this drug. Will you help us? Please contribute to our cause and register for our newsletter list at https://johnnysambassadors.org/blog/. Even small contributions will greatly assist in helping us spread the word to as many people as possible of the lethal dangers of marijuana use, particularly high-potency THC, especially by teens and young adults.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 has been designated as #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity to support communities and nonprofits around the world. Would you please contribute $4.20, $42, $420, or $4,200 (in $420 increments) to help us increase awareness of what 420 Day is and combat its negative effects? Our goal is $42,000 to help us fight the irreparable damage to the adolescent brain from dabbing high-THC wax!
If your teen mysteriously wants to leave the house at 4:20 today, MAKE SURE THAT SHIP DOESN’T SAIL! I have made this post public and would be so grateful if you’d share it on your Facebook to loop in other parents.
P.S. You don’t have to wait until 5/5 to donate, of course. Please show your support to help us raise awareness on teen marijuana use and suicide and donate today at https://johnnysambassadors.org/donate.