If you just want to make money, do not enter the regulated weed business.

That was the consensus among five women who currently work in the cannabis industry. Yes, there are billions to be made selling weed, but when you compound the rules, regulations, taxes, and instability of this booming legal market, the money alone isn’t worth it. Simply put, there are easier ways to make a billion dollars. Yet here we are. As more states legalize the plant, it seems as though a new entertainer launches a cannabis line or company each month. And they’re not the only ones; average people are jumping into the legal weed industry, too.

How are folks getting past the license application fees, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and hold no guaranteed approval? How are they getting past the million-dollar barriers to entry that states like Hawaii hold? And if money is not the motive, what is?

In 2019, a report found that women accounted for only about 20 percent of business ownership, and a more recent report noted that, though the numbers are increasing, women hold only 6.2 percent of CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies.

It takes extreme diligence to break into the highly regulated weed business; as a woman, that need for diligence is magnified. Complex interviewed five women who shared their reasons for entering the cannabis industry and gave tips on how others who want to make legal money selling weed can do the same.