CEO and founder of Johnny’s Ambassadors at Hershey Public School explaining the dangers of marijuana
HERSHEY, Neb. (KNOP) - Laura Stack is Johnny Stack’s mom and the Founder and CEO of Johnny’s Ambassadors.
The 19-year-old college student and math whiz snapped a photo of the mileage reading and posted it, along with a cryptic message, on Snapchat. Then 40 minutes later Stack walked to the ledge and jumped to his death. Johnny Stack was addicted to high-potency marijuana.
Laura has worked tirelessly since his tragic death to try and prevent what happened to Johnny from happening to others. She travels the country educating people about the dangers of marijuana on the adolescent brain. This week she spoke to 6th to 12th graders at Hershey High School.
“What happened to him is 100 percent preventable,” she says. “I know that with all my heart.”
Laura is known for her work in Colorado toward making new regulations into law, restricting the number of concentrate products that 18 to 20-year-olds can buy. She talks to audiences around the nation, hoping to save other parents from the nightmare that is her and her family’s reality.
Now she is taking her pain and using it to do everything she can to spare someone else from the same
“What most people don’t understand about THC is that it interacts with our natural brain called the endocannabinoid system, and it changes the brain development in teens. So the number one thing that we like to tell people is that today’s marijuana is totally different than it was in the past. It’s much stronger, and it impacts the formation of the brain. There is no safe level of THC in the developing adolescent brain.”
Johnny was highly addicted and he knew it. From taking a hit at a party to spending five years battling an addiction to high potency marijuana that left him convinced mobsters were trying to kill him.
One Hershey teen said it’s a message everyone needs to hear.
As for drugs among kids her age in Hershey and North Platte area Tahlia said, “I think it’s a growing problem. So I think just like getting on top of it early, and before it spreads is huge.”
Laura told the crowd at Hershey that she loves them.
“I want you to know, that I love every single one of you. And I just don’t want any of you following Johnny’s path.”
She added, “I do love them. I look at them, and I see Johnny and I see their potential. And Johnny will never realize all of the things that these children have the ability to create in their lives, and I do love them and I don’t want any of them to follow Johnny’s path and so I just hope that they here are warning and Johnny story and choose not to use marijuana.
Tahlia added, “It makes me feel really good that she has the bright light. She’s so brave to share her story over and over again. Like she does it multiple times a day. Her bravery just like shows like what it’s like and like I would never want to put my parents through that. And hope no one else would. So like, I just I’m super thankful for her.”
And so what she didn’t know while her son was alive, she knows now and she is shouting it out as loud as she can. So as parents or teens or anyone can know the dangers of high potency marijuana.
“No level of THC is safe for the adolescent brain.”
Laura gave her presentation to people in McCook, and later in North Platte. Her husband John, Johnny’s father, was with her.
- Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use for those over 21 in 2012. Between 2017 and 2019, the number of teens smoking or dabbing (when the drug is inhaled after being vaporized with a butane torch) high-potency concentrates known as shatter, wax and budder, rose from 20.3 percent to 52 percent, according to a recent study.
- In the last five years, THC (the chemical that gives pot its “high”) is the number one drug found in the blood of teen suicide victims.
- High-potency products can contain up to 90 percent THC. These concentrates can also have devastating effects on users’ mental health, leading to depression, suicidal ideation, psychosis, and schizophrenia.
Last year Laura wrote a book — The Dangerous Truth About Today’s Marijuana — about her family’s ordeal and launched a foundation called Johnny’s Ambassadors.
“Marijuana took my boy’s life and I’m so angry,” said Laura, who now spends 80 hours a week talking to teens and parents via webinars and conferences about the dangers of concentrates.
“This is my mission now because I missed everything — and I didn’t know anything.”
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