State Senate Honors Late Medical Marijuana Icon Charlotte Figi | Westword

State Senate Honors Charlotte Figi, Late Medical Marijuana Icon

Charlotte was just a toddler when she appeared on CNN in 2013, but her fame grew fast.
State senators James Coleman (right) and Tony Exum honor Charlotte Figi Day on Friday, April 5.
State senators James Coleman (right) and Tony Exum honor Charlotte Figi Day on Friday, April 5. The Colorado Channel

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The Colorado Senate was just thirty minutes into its session on Friday, April 5, when Senator James Coleman asked for a moment of personal privilege: He wanted to honor Charlotte Figi.

Charlotte was a toddler when she appeared on CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta in 2013. Her family had moved to Colorado a year earlier so that she could begin taking CBD oil extracted from a non-intoxicating strain of marijuana to treat Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that can cause extreme seizures.

Her parents, Matt and Paige, reported that CBD had nearly eliminated Charlotte's seizures, and she eventually no longer required a feeding tube to eat. Paige later co-founded the Realm of Caring with the mother of another medical marijuana patient, Heather Jackson. The nonprofit organization still helps connect families with information about medical cannabis, doctors and medicine.

Although the CBD treatment continued helping with her seizures, Charlotte passed away on April 7, 2020, at the age of thirteen after going to the hospital with what her family suspects were symptoms of COVID-19. Two weeks later, Governor Jared Polis proclaimed April 7 to be Charlotte Figi Day to honor "the lives of many millions whose wellness and dignity was in part made possible" by Charlotte and the Figi family.

The strain from which Charlotte's CBD oil was extracted was later named Charlotte's Web. The growers of the strain eventually named their popular hemp and CBD brand Charlotte's Web, as well.

"The impact that Charlotte's journey made is immeasurable. Her role as a pioneering patient created access to cannabis therapies for millions around the world," Coleman said from the Senate floor before honoring Matt, Paige and other members of the Figi family.
click to enlarge Family stands during senate session in Colorado
Paige Figi (bottom left) and her family stand while being honored by the state Senate on April 5.
The Colorado Channel
"Charlotte was rightly known as the girl who was changing marijuana laws across America," added Coleman, who was flanked by Senator Tony Exum of El Paso County, where Charlotte lived.

The senator from Denver was the latest to announce Charlotte Figi Day on the Senate floor, following Exum, who did so in 2023, and Senator Kevin Van Winkle, who did it in 2022. Coleman, a supporter of several cannabis business bills in the past, said he was "honored" to recognize Charlotte this year, before leading an ovation for the Figi family.

The Figis have continued advocating for cannabis treatment at the state and federal level. Paige, who founded and runs CBD political action group Coalition for Access Now, has been pushing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate CBD as a dietary supplement at the federal level, a move she believes would provide access to licensed and tested CBD for families across the country.
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