CNN’s Poppy Harlow broke down in tears Thursday as chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported on the death of 13-year-old Charlotte Figi, who helped inspire the medical marijuana movement.
Figi, who died Tuesday, suffered from a rare form of epilepsy and launched a movement that would change minds about medical marijuana. Gupta himself did a complete switch on his views of medical marijuana after participating in a 2013 CNN film titled “Weed,” which allowed him to meet Figi.
“And it was at that moment that people started to see that marijuana, which had been considered dangerous, could also be a therapy,” Gupta said Thursday during a memorial segment on Figi. “She changed my mind and opened my eyes to the possibility that this was a legitimate medicine. And in the process, she changed the world.”
“Charlotte Figi was the entire CBD movement wrapped up into a sweet little girl with a big smile and an even bigger heart. Her story changed policy about cannabis. States were inspired by the story of Charlotte Figi and made CBD more accessible around the United States to treat epilepsy. And in turn, scientists around the world wanted to study Charlotte’s special CBD oil, research that before Charlotte no one really seemed that interested in doing.”
After airing a segment honoring Figi, Harlow broke down in tears because of the report. (RELATED: MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle Cries On Air While Talking About Voting)
“Can you just tell us a little bit more about her and the impact that she — I’m sorry, Sanjay — and the impact that she had on the world,” Harlow said as she began to cry.
Gupta said that he was “skeptical” of marijuana as a form of medicine and even noted that he had written against it in the past. He added that “she made me realize that it would not just be a … medical failing but a moral failing if this medicine was somehow withheld from people.”
Gupta said that his daughters had grown up with Figi and that her death is a “really tough, tough loss.”
“Charlotte lived her short life to the fullest,” Gupta said in the segment. “And while she was almost this mythical miracle, she was also just a little girl who loved to go tandem biking with her mom. And while the last month was not easy – she had symptoms of COVID-19 while never testing positive – she eventually developed pneumonia which once again unleashed her seizures. Her mother Paige said Charlotte was still smiling and happy until the very end when a seizure became more than her fragile little body could handle.”
“Charlotte’s life ended just as it began, in her mother’s arms, surrounded by family who loved her, cherished her and protected her, all forever changed by this little girl who forever changed the world. And everyone, like me, who were caught in her glorious orbit. Please rest in peace, Charlie.”
“Sanjay, sorry. I didn’t know it would make me cry, but thank you for that and just for what you’ve done through this whole crisis for all of these stories that you’re humanizing for us. We appreciate you very much and we’ll be right back.”