Finding Joshua Smith…

In the early 70’s Maui was a haven for young artists.  Lahaina in particular had so much incredible art, from seascapes to landscapes from Guy Buffet to Christain Lassen.  There was one artist that caught Skip’s eye from the very first moment, he painted under the name of  “Joshua Smith”.  Skip loved his art and the fact that almost all of his artwork had a theme based upon marijuana.  Being the smuggler of that very same item, Skip felt a kindred spirit with this master cannabis artist.  It took several months to finally find “Joshua”, he was holed-up on Haleakala mountain very close to the Kula Lodge.  Skip went up to the house and could smell the pakalolo wafting from the frontdoor, he instantly knew that he had found the right destination. Knocking on the door, Tom Shaw greeted Skip and Skip explained that he was looking for Joshua Smith. For some unknown reason, Tom invited Skip into the house without hesitation. As years passed on the mountain, Skip, Tom & Joshua all  became close friends. Skip hired Joshua that very same day to begin painting creating a collection of artwork that sampled real experiences from Skip’s time as a cannabis entrepreneur.  The outcome of that initial encounter created all of the art that you find today on Ganja Outpost. Truly, a piece of Marijuana history.

Today,  Joshua still lives on the mountain and paints every day.  Joshua is one of the foremost artists to come out of Maui, and is the paramount cannabis artist in the World today. His works can be found globally in some of the most prestigious art galleries.  We are pleased to share with you the gift that is Joshua’s artwork.

Explore some of the magical pot art created by Joshua Smith
in the classic days of the 1970’s

The Inception

Here at Ganja Outpost, the products that we now offer are all based upon the artwork that was created for Skip Steele back in the day, when he was actively involved in the game. All of the T-shirts, posters and fine art are from Skip’s personal collection of cannabis art.

In April of 1974 Skip and the Cannabis Crew  had just completed  the first 100,000 pound load of Columbian Gold.  To celebrate that occasion, Skip called one of his partners who  lived in Bangkok, Thailand.  They decided to meet in Honolulu and party down in celebration of the success of the “Gig”.  The plan was to travel for a month or so and eventually  end up back in Colombia, in time for the preparation of the next “gig” which was planned for late summer.  The original idea was to go in the “backdoor” to South America  by traveling from Honolulu to Papeete, then grabbing the Air France non-stop flight  from Tahiti to Lima, Peru then up to Colombia from there.   Eric Spatz flew in from Bangkok, Skip from the east coast, and they met at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki .  The idea was to drink way too many Mai-Tai’s, smoke way too much pakalolo and see where that would lead them.  As expected, the drinks flowed that night and they reminisced about the success of the load into the next day.  Somebody got the great idea to charter a yacht and go to Maui.  A half-drunk scheme that dissolved as Skip drifted deeper into the night’s last few beverages.

The next morning brought with it a beautiful sunny day and Skip decided to wash away his hangover by paddling out for some waves at Ala Moana.  Perfect three foot ” hawaiian” removed  all traces of the rum from night before.  Eric, being a marathoner, decided to run the rum out of his system and he hit the road. While Skip surfed, Eric knocked off a quick eight miles, by running up to Diamond head and back. After that, they bumped into each other and headed off for breakfast.  Over coffee and a full tropical breakfast, they planned their next attack.

“I was serious about the boat thing to Maui”,  Skip mentioned as they finished off their coffee.

“Really? Ok, I have a friend that can help us with that”, Eric offered.

After several phone calls, Eric’s friend set up the entire charter to the Valley Isle.  They were to be at Kewalo marina by noon for the cruise to Maui.

At the marina, Eric and Skip boarded the boat together along with several of Eric’s friends from Honolulu.  The boat was an older power yacht, probably built in the 1950’s.  She seemed to be a wooden  hull with lots of teak and was nicely appointed.  Clearing the break wall of Kewalo, the course was set due south past Diamond Head and towards the Molokai Channel.  After some discussions with the Captain, they  changed course and decided to go outside of the island of Lanai, in place of the Molokai Channel which can be very rough.  As they rounded the south side of Lanai in the afternoon and got the first look at the Island of Maui, the West Maui mountains sparkled like an emerald encased in a beautiful blue sea.  Skip was reading “Hawaii” by James A. Michener and  was transported back to the days of the sailing ships at Lahaina roadstead.  As the sun began to set, Maui was illuminated with unbelievable colors capped by a perfect rainbow covering all of Lahaina town. There was a  very strange sense of deja vu for Skip, a feeling that he had somehow been here before, and it felt like home.  They made their way to the harbor and began what was to be a weekend in Maui. That weekend turned into two weeks of pure joy as they  investigated and explored what would become their new home.

Explore the Tales of Skip’s Cannabis Crew

Browse our 1970’s cannabis smuggling tales.

Browse Skip's Stories
Meet Skip Steele
Browse the Reefer Boats
Meet the Cannabis Crew
Gig Maps

Stay current with the latest stories!

Contact Us

Got Questions for the Crew? Drop us a line...


Start typing and press Enter to search