The passing of Charlotte Figi, a child epileptic patient whose CBD treatment helped spark a nationwide movement toward marijuana acceptance, sent shock waves around Colorado's cannabis community.
Charlotte passed away April 7 at the age of thirteen after visiting the hospital over what her family suspects were symptoms of COVID-19. (Charlotte was not tested.) Shortly after, thousands of posts on social media and articles — including one from CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, whose documentary featuring Charlotte's CBD treatment gained national attention, and also changed Gupta's position on medical marijuana — expressed grief and gratitude for the Figi family and their story.
Two weeks later, that gratitude has turned into something tangible. Shortly after Charlotte's death, cannabis advocates called on Governor Jared Polis, a vocal supporter of hemp and medical marijuana, to do something to recognize her impact. In response, Polis has issued an executive order proclaiming April 7 Charlotte Figi Day in Colorado.
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"Whereas, on April 7th, 2020 Charlotte Figi passed away, having left the world with a life-changing story of overcoming adversity through courage and grace, impacting the lives of many millions whose wellness and dignity was in part made possible by Charlotte and the Figi family’s devotion to finding a therapy, the great and loving State of Colorado shall honor her life and encompass her journey through our continued dedication to unearthing solutions, discovering community strength, and embodying the love of Charlotte," the proclamation reads. "Therefore, I, Jared Polis, Governor of the State of Colorado, do hereby proclaim April 7 forevermore as Charlotte Figi Day in the State of Colorado."
The Figi family, who live in Colorado Springs, rose to cannabis prominence in 2011 when they appeared on Gupta's WEED documentary on CNN. Gupta had doubted the claims of medical marijuana patients that the plant helped them, until he met people like Figi, who suffered from a rare form of epilepsy that can cause extreme seizures. Charlotte used CBD oil extracted from a non-intoxicating strain of marijuana to treat her symptoms, and eventually no longer required a feeding tube to eat; her family reported that CBD nearly eliminated her seizures. In her honor, the growers of the strain, the seven Stanley brothers, eventually named the strain Charlotte's Web and their company CW Hemp.
On April 20, after Charlotte's passing, the Stanley brothers announced that CW Hemp was donating $1 million worth of CBD products to patients who can't afford them to further honor the little girl they affectionally refer to as their "northern star." The company teamed up with the Realm of Caring, a medical marijuana advocacy group co-founded by Charlotte's mother, Paige, as well as the Adaptive Training Foundation and High Fives Foundation, to distribute the CBD products.
"Charlotte was, and will be, the heartbeat of our passion, and the conviction that the dignity and health of a human being is their right," reads a public farewell message from CW Hemp on April 8. "Charlotte, you are the light of our lives. Thank you for your life, your bravery, and your beautiful soul. We love you, Charlie."