No. While well-intentioned, California's Prop 65 — officially “The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986” — has led to unintended consequences, especially when it comes to products made with the cannabis plant, including Green Bee Botanicals skincare.
We appreciate this law; it's meant to inform California consumers about food, water, dietary supplements, and other consumable products that may have ingredients that can cause cancer or birth defects.
Green Bee Botanicals products are actually exempt from Prop 65 and do not require this warning. However, because some cannabis dispensaries will not sell products without this warning — and our products currently can be bought only from dispensaries — we include it.
The important thing to know is that:
1) All of our products pass the strict California cannabis testing requirements for safety, which are stricter than organic food testing.
2) We publish these test results, called certificates of analysis (COAs), for all our products on each of our product pages here.
3) Our products will not cause cancer. They are not dangerous. Read on to understand why.
First off, Prop 65 is not a product safety law; it’s a right-to-know law, which means we’re required to inform the public that a chemical from the Prop 65 list is present in a product, even if in trace amounts. Second, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) states:
“A Proposition 65 warning does not necessarily mean that a product is in violation of any product-safety standards or requirements.”
It's a painful irony to have to include Prop 65 cancer warnings on our cannabis skincare products when they are literally among only a handful of the cleanest and safest available today — with proof no less, in our posted COAs. Green Bee Botanicals was created by Bridget May specifically to make safe, clean products with safe, clean ingredients because there are so few available on the market today.
The reason cannabis products sold in California have to have a warning on them is that in 2009, marijuana smoke was added to the Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, so all cannabis flower is subject to Prop 65 warnings. Additionally, if even trace amounts of any chemical on the Prop 65 list might be found in a product, even if it's naturally-occurring, the warning is required.
In our case, this naturally-occurring chemical is a terpene called myrcene (aka β-myrcene or beta-myrcene). Natural terpenes give plants their distinctive scents, such as the citrusy smell of lemons and the crisp, refreshing scent of pine trees. Myrcene is found in fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and plants, such as mangoes, hops, bay leaves, lemongrass, eucalyptus, verbena, citrus, pomegranates, carrots — and, you guessed it, cannabis plants.
So why do foods containing naturally-occurring myrcene like pomegranates and mangoes not require Prop 65 labels, but products containing naturally-occurring myrcene from the cannabis plant do? The short answer is that fruit is classified by the government as "food," while cannabis is not. Section § 25501 of the California Code of Regulations — "Exposure to a Naturally Occurring Chemical in a Food" — exempts fruits and food from the prop 65 warnings requirements.
We're glad foods are exempt. Putting cancer warnings on carrots would be absurd. We think it's equally absurd to require it on natural cannabis plant products, especially those that aren't ingested or smoked, such as our skincare.
Take the warning with a grain of salt. We appreciate the efforts of our lawmakers’ to keep us safe. We also recognize that some of these efforts have the unintended consequence of labeling healthy, healing ingredients as potentially hazardous. Topically-applied creams and oils infused with organic plants and cannabis are not dangerous. Green Bee Botanicals products are safe, pure, clean, and good for you. We use them ourselves. Our families use them. We care about the health of our customers, and go to great lengths to keep you safe. You can always read the test results of each product to verify.
There's plenty of other ingredients to be wary of with personal care products (read more about toxins lurking in mainstream cosmetics products here).
You can read a more thorough answer to this FAQ on our Bee Blog at https://greenbeebotanicals.com/blogs/learn/my-skincare-product-label-has-a-prop-65-warning-should-i-worry.
And if you have any questions about testing, safety, or want to talk about California cannabis regulations, or cosmetic safety, we are just a phone call, email, or DM away!