He decided to sell his company and in 1887 Willis Venable and George Lowndes purchased two-thirds of the rights. In August 16, 1888, Pemberton passed away. In 1891, public attitudes were changing towards cocaine. It became general knowledge that cocaine could be harmful. Frank Allen describes that the negative aspects of cocaine were becoming a national debate. Accusations were being made that products containing cocaine were connected to cocaine addiction. For the reputation of the company, the amount of coca leaves used were cut back to trace amounts. The company did everything it could with the technology available to remove cocaine from Coca-Cola. Since the coca leaves gave Cola-Coca its name, and the name had to be protected since there was no patent, the coca leaves had to stay in as ingredient. In 1902 the trace amounts were as little as 1/400 of a grain of cocaine per ounce of syrup. Coca-cola became completely cocaine free in 1929 .

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